Illegal Pet Trade

The Cheetah: Powerful Symbol, Vulnerable Existence

  • by Sarang Dutt December 16, 2020
The Cheetah: Powerful Symbol, Vulnerable Existence
The cheetah symbol of speed, focus, agility and performance

Anyone who does an online search for “fastest land animal” will find the cheetah at the top of the list. The cheetah is recognized not only for its speed and spotted coat, but how it uses its long, streamlined body to its advantage in hunting and pursuing its prey. As an apex predator that embodies speed, focus, agility and performance, the cheetah has become a powerful symbol of these admirable attributes.

In our society, the power of cheetah imagery and iconification is exemplified by the vast number of company names, product names, advertising images and logos that use cheetahs. At the same time, consider this: there are fewer than 7500 cheetahs in the world. To put it in context, if you check the population of your city, suburb or neighbourhood, you may find that its population is around or exceeds the total population of cheetahs in the world (a population that, sadly, is continuing to decline). What would the cheetah symbolise if it went extinct, failure on the part of humankind? Anyone that values what the icon of the cheetah represents should also want to ensure that the cheetah remains in existence.

The best way to help cheetahs survive is to support the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). Its mission is to save the cheetah in the wild.  Since its creation in 1990, Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and executive Director, has been working with the communities and the farmers living alongside the cheetah. The key threats to cheetah survival are human-wildlife conflict, the loss of habitat and prey, and the illegal wildlife pet trade. These are the targets of a series of CCF initiatives and programs, making CCF a leader in the conservation of this iconic species.

The reality is that the cheetah is the most endangered big cat in Africa. We need to conserve the cheetah species, not only for the values it represents, but because of its vital role as an apex predator that keeps nature in balance. We know what needs to be done to save the cheetah but we need your support.  Follow us on social media, spread the word in your network, see if your employer can support this cause, donate, volunteer or lead in your community.   We can be reached at

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