How We’re Fighting Wildlife Trafficking and Illegal Pet Trade

Tracking reported cases and sharing data with authorities and the NGO Community

Cheetah skinCCF monitors cases of cheetah trafficking through news and direct reports, and has facilitated confiscations through the proper authorities whenever possible. Although geographically widespread, most of these reports involve the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. Since CCF began tracking the illegal trafficking of cheetahs in 2005, it has recorded thousands of cheetahs, cheetah cubs, or cheetah products – such as skins or dewclaw items, in hundreds of cases. CCF also carries out research into wildlife cyber-trade, as cheetahs and other endangered species are often offered for sale on online marketplaces and social media.

To support enforcement in establishing the origin of confiscated cheetahs, CCF is in the process of expanding its cheetah DNA database by collecting genetic samples wherever possible, under the proper CITES permits.

If you see or hear about illegal activities in involving cheetahs or cheetah products, please contact us. Your report will be handled with absolute confidentiality.

Advocating in stakeholder meetings to ensure live trade issues are addressed in anti-wildlife trafficking efforts

CCF staff tracks the activity of international agencies and governments on this issue and participates in stakeholder meetings when and where possible. CCF collaborates with relevant governments, international organizations and other NGOs. The vast information it has compiled has served to substantiate the need for urgent action at international levels, including the inclusion of illegal cheetah trafficking in northeast Africa as part of the CITES CoP13.


At CoP13, the CITES Secretariat commissioned an independent study to assess the impact of “legal and illegal trade on the species’ conservation in the wild.” The study, which included data provided by CCF, was presented at the CITES 27th Animal Committee Meeting and subsequently reviewed during the 65th Standing Committee (SC65) Meeting, both held in 2014.

A CITES Intersessional Working Group on Illegal Trade in Cheetahs was tasked with the design of a questionnaire to CITES Parties requesting information on national legislation and enforcement, as well as with the organization of a workshop with relevant CITES parties and NGOs. The workshop, hosted by the State of Kuwait in November 2015, was attended by 13 CITES Parties and 10 NGOs. Recommendations resulting from this workshop, which include demand reduction programs, increased enforcement and communications, and disposal procedures, were submitted and adopted with minor changes at the SC66 meeting held in mid-January 2016. In addition, decisions that included the establishment of a Cheetah Trade Resource Kit and a Cheetah Forum, subject to funding, were adopted at the CoP17 in September 2016. An important decision drafted by the Working Group for the CITES Secretariat to engage internet platforms to combat online trade in cheetahs and raise awareness was also adopted at COP17 as part of the overall cybercrime topic, and thus the Secretariat’s efforts will be expanded to all CITES species and become a part of the regular Enforcement matters agenda.

CCF continues to work with governments and institutions in order to support the implementation of all CITES decisions and recommendations.

Opening dialogue in origin, transit and destination countries to address health
and well-being of cheetahs caught up in the trade, and potentially reduce demand.

cheetah clawsCCF makes every effort to establish relationships with relevant countries to share knowledge about cheetahs both in the wild and in captivity. Dr Laurie Marker and her staff lend their expertise in cheetah care wherever cheetahs may be confiscated or housed. The hope is that through better education and awareness, conditions for cheetahs caught up in the trade will improve and cultural norms can be shifted away from keeping cheetahs as pets.

What you can do

If you see or hear about illegal activities in involving cheetahs or cheetah products, please contact us. Your report will be handled with absolute confidentiality.

in cageNo matter where you live, you can have an impact and help fight the illegal pet trade and illegal wildlife trafficking.

Visit CCF’s special Facebook Page dedicated to raising awareness on the illegal trade in cheetahs.

Spread the word

Cheetahs (and other wild animals) don’t make good pets! Our desire to possess these animals is decimating their numbers in the wild and threatening them with extinction. We’re literally loving them to death!

Download posters created by the US Regional Environment Office (REO) for East Africa and help raise awareness for Illegal Wildlife Trade.

IWT Posters

Vote with your wallet

Don’t buy products that are derived from endangered animals or patronize the stores that sell them, even if you’re told the products are legally obtained.

Engage in responsible tourism and volunteerism

Many facilities in Africa and in other countries offer animal encounters. Before engaging in one of these opportunities, ask some key questions:

  • Was this animal raised by its mother? If not, why not?
  • Will this animal be released into the wild, and if so, is that process done using documented procedures?
  • If this animal goes back into the wild, or onto a game reserve, is it going to be hunted?
  • Is this animal part of a breeding program, and if so, for what purpose?
  • What happens to this facility’s surplus animals?