Illegal Pet Trade
With its relatively moderate size, the cheetah has been coveted by wealthy and privileged individuals in societies through the ages, mostly as a status symbol and mostly in the Middle East.
Today, there is, unfortunately, still true. To meet this demand, cheetahs are illegally captured from the wild and then smuggled to the different parts of the world.
When cheetah cubs are smuggled, only one of in six survives the journey, therefore requiring even more cubs be captured from the wild to meet the demand.
The illegal trade in cheetahs is a significant contributor to the cheetah’s population decline and endangerment.
Cheetah trafficking in the Horn of Africa has reached crisis status.
Each year, an estimated 300 cubs are illegally snatched from the landscape, taken from their mothers in Ethiopia, northern Kenya, Somalia and Somaliland to supply the illegal pet trade.
Already fragmented and vulnerable, these tiny populations are at risk of being lost due to the illegal wildlife trade in the next few years. The number of cubs being poached is simply not sustainable.
Caring for the cheetahs that are caught up in the illegal pet trade has become a major focus for CCF. In 2011, CCF began working government officials in Somaliland to care for cheetahs recovered by their wildlife officers and arranged their transfer to sanctuaries in Ethiopia or Djibouti.
Starting in 2016, a facility was created in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, where confiscated cheetah cubs are now housed and cared for, under the leadership of Dr. Marker and the team at CCF.