Saving Lily: A story of hope amidst the illegal wildlife trade

  • by Zila Oliveira 22 February 2024
Saving Lily: A story of hope amidst the illegal wildlife trade

In a world where the majestic cheetah roams the African plains, there exists a dark and heartbreaking reality: the illegal wildlife trade (IWT). This trade not only threatens the existence of these beautiful creatures but also inflicts unimaginable suffering upon them. Among the countless victims of this trade is Lily, a five-month-old cheetah cub who endured trauma and hardship before finding refuge and hope. Here’s her story and how you can be a part of her journey towards a better life.

Lily’s trauma and rescue

Lily’s journey began tragically, as she fell victim to the clutches of the illegal wildlife trade at just five months old. When she was rescued in 2023, Lily bore the physical and emotional scars of her ordeal. Dehydrated, malnourished, and riddled with wounds infested with maggots, she had suffered greatly in her short life. Snatched away from her family and deprived of life in the wild, Lily faced a grim fate if not for the timely intervention of compassionate individuals.

The Plight of Cheetah Cubs

Lily’s story is not an isolated one. Across the Horn of Africa, an estimated 300 cheetah cubs are trafficked each year, destined for the illegal pet trade in the Arabian Peninsula. Tragically, the majority of these cubs do not survive the journey, succumbing to the harsh conditions and cruel treatment they endure. For those who do survive, a life of captivity and suffering awaits, with many perishing within a few short years.

Despite the grim realities of the illegal wildlife trade, there is hope for the lucky few like Lily. Organisations like the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) are dedicated to rescuing and caring for cheetahs affected by the trade. For over 30 years, CCF has worked tirelessly to combat the illegal pet trade and provide a safe haven for cheetahs in need.

Their Forever Home Campaign


At CCF’s Cheetah Rescued and Conservation Centre (CRCC) in Somaliland, over 100 cheetahs have found sanctuary. However, many of these cubs, like Lily, lack the skills to survive in the wild and rely on the centre for lifelong care. To ensure these cheetahs receive the support they require, CCF has launched the ‘Their Forever Home’ campaign, inviting supporters to join in providing essential resources for the cheetahs’ care and well-being.

Your support can make a world of difference to cheetahs like Lily. Whether it’s through a donation to provide medical care, and food, or funding policy initiatives to combat the illegal pet trade, every contribution helps. For as little as £10, you can provide vital supplements for a rescued cheetah cub, while larger donations can support ongoing conservation efforts and rescue missions.


Here’s how your donation could help: 

£10 pays for vitamin supplements for a rescued cheetah cub 

£20 feeds a rescued cheetah for a week

£50 helps to fund our ongoing policy work to reduce the demands of the illegal pet trade

£100 pays for veterinary health checks for 5 rescued cheetahs

£500 helps us to assist Somaliland’s MoECC with cheetah cub rescues 

£1000 provides the care and veterinary support of a rescued cheetah for one year 


Lily’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing battle against the illegal wildlife trade and the importance of compassionate action. Together, we can give these magnificent creatures the dignity, respect, and care they deserve.

Join us in making a difference in the lives of cheetahs like Lily, and together, we can ensure a brighter future for these iconic animals, click here to donate now. 


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