Three of the cubs were found in extremely poor health

By Kelli Bender
April 25, 2017 03:33 PM
Credit: Courtesy Cheetah Conservation Fund

Cheetahs are entrancing, powerful and endangered. They need to be protected, not turned into pets.

Unfortunately, there is a demanding illegal pet trade in the Arab Peninsula, which buys up to 300 cheetah cubs a year, according to the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

Nine of these cubs escaped this fate when they were rescued by the Somaliland Ministry of Environment and Rural Development (MoERD) with assistance from Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). The groups collectively saved nine cubs and one young adult from illegal traders who were on their way to the Arab Peninsula.

The CCF is working with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to get the cubs the medical care they need, especially since three of the babies were found in extremely poor health.

“With a total population of just over 7,000 cheetahs remaining in the wild, the taking of even one cub is a threat to the species’ survival. This is particularly concerning as trafficked cubs are usually removed from their mothers at very young ages — less than 3 months — which means that they have not had enough time to learn skills necessary to survive in the wild and will in most cases require life-long care,” said Dr. Laurie Marker, CCF’s Founder and Executive Director. “We are exceptionally pleased to be partnering with IFAW moving forward to address this important issue.”

Rescuers are trying to find a permanent new home for the cubs, but are being held up due to laws which prevent confiscated animals from being transported across country borders. CCF and IFAW are in talks with the government on moving the animals to an out-of-country sanctuary that can provide long-term care for all the of the recovered cheetahs.

Overall, the conservation groups are pleased with the quick response of MoERD to illegal trading and hope that this relationship will continue to save these wild animals from the cruel fate of being kept as domestic pets.

“Through this week’s confiscations, the Somaliland authorities are sending a clear message to traffickers that the trade in live cheetahs will not be tolerated,” added Patricia Tricorache, CCF’s Assistant Director for Strategic Communications and Illegal Wildlife Trade.