When you see a baby cheetah your heart melts. They have dark golden eyes that are curious with goofy spikey mohawk hair that is meant to mimic honey badgers in the wild. Not to mention, the hundreds of tiny little spots from the top of the head to the tip of their long tail. Their faces have that distinctive black tear line and when they look at you, you can see an intelligence, grace and thoughtfulness.
When I ask my fellow feline lovers if they could have an exotic cat as a pet, what would it be? The answer is almost always a pet cheetah. It is something I have even said too, but would never ever do or support anyone who does. There is something magical and mystical about them. BUT, these beautiful creatures belong in the wild. They do not belong on the passenger seat of a wealthy persons sports car with a collar and leash or in a high rise apartment.
Having a cheetah as a pet isn’t new, but it presently getting out of control. I spoke briefly with Dr. Laurie Marker when she was on her 2019 Spring fundraising tour for the Cheetah Conservation Fund about what is happening with cheetahs being traded as pets and how this is effecting their numbers in the wild.
As most of you know, I met Dr. Laurie Marker, the founding director of The Cheetah Conservation Fund a few years ago. I was so inspired to learn about the work CCF is doing and what Dr. Marker has accomplished that I traveled to Namibia to become a working guest for a few weeks. It is a fantastic experience and I recommend it to everyone. Also, I wrote a small piece about my experience at CCF for Wild Hope Magazine, see below. The full article can be found in Volume 7 and the magazine can be purchased at wildhope.org.
Photos for the article are by Suzi Ezsterhas
June 20, 2019Cubs Caught Up in the Illegal Pet Trade
June 20, 2019Four Weeks in Somaliland at the Cheetah Safe House
August 18, 2013Volunteer Story – Rachel Rowland