URGENT APPEAL: Snatched from their families at just a few weeks old
Snatched from their families at just a few weeks old, abused, scared, weak, and deprived of a life in the wild. This is the shocking reality faced by cheetah cubs in the Horn of Africa, who are taken from the wild to meet the demands of the illegal pet trade. The traumas these helpless cubs go through don’t bear thinking about. In the past few years, up to 300 cheetah cubs have been taken from the wild each year, to be illegally sold as pets. Sadly, most of the cubs do not survive the journey.
While in transit, the cubs become malnourished and dehydrated – and out of every four cubs stolen from the wild, up to three usually die. Of those that do survive and make it into the illegal pet trade, the majority will not live for more than two years. The complete disregard for an animal’s life in unfathomable and the lack of compassion towards one of Africa’s most iconic species is deeply saddening. We will continue to work relentlessly to rescue and care for as many illegally captured cheetah cubs as we can, and work to stop this horrible illegal trade.
The illegal pet trade is decimating wild cheetah populations
The illegal trade of cheetahs is driven by demand for exotic pets in the Middle East. Most of the trade in live cheetahs occurs between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, where cheetahs are kept illegally as pets. Trafficked cheetahs are believed to originate in Ethiopia, northern Kenya, Somalia, and Somaliland, and most are smuggled from points along the Somaliland coast into the Arabian Peninsula through Yemen. The route is favoured by traffickers for its short distance between the two continents.
Cheetahs are very difficult to breed in captivity; therefore, cubs are taken from the wild to satisfy demand. In the Horn of Africa, the population of adult and adolescent cheetahs is estimated to be less than 500, so this take off of up to 300 cubs per year poses a serious threat to the species, with a very real risk of local extinction.
There is hope!
As part of our mission to build a more compassionate world for wild cheetahs, we are working tirelessly to mitigate the threats of the illegal pet trade, and to give rescued cheetahs a second chance at life. Here is how we are turning the tide for cheetahs:
- Our new Cheetah Rescue and Conservation Centre (CCRC) in Somaliland is now complete and will house the 92 cheetahs and one leopard currently being cared for in 3 CCF Safe Houses in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa. The majority will require long-term veterinary care and cannot be released back into the wild. The CCRC comprises vast outdoor camps providing the most natural environment for the animals;
- Supporting Somaliland’s Ministry of Environment & Climate Change (MoECC) with cub rescue missions;
- Training rural and pastoral farmers, conducting outreach in communities where trafficking is known to occur and build community structures to better conserve the ecosystem and support the humans and wildlife that share the same landscape;
- Banking DNA samples to establish the origins of confiscated cheetahs and aid in investigations;
- Working with the NGOs and governments in the Middle East to reduce demand for illegal pets throughout the region, whilst also supporting the Horn of Africa Wildlife Enforcement Network (HAWEN) and national Illegal Wildlife Trade Task Forces;
- Surveying wild cheetahs in the Horn of Africa, as there is little known about these populations
One of our rescued cheetahs exploring their new home at our CRCC in Somaliland
We need your help to build a better world for cheetahs
While we remain as determined as ever to end the suffering of countless cheetah cubs, we simply cannot do this alone. We need your help to continue our invaluable work and to be a beacon of hope to the animals who have been deprived their natural life. Will you help us give rescued cheetahs a second chance at life?
Your donation, no matter how big or small, will provide vital funds for protecting and rescuing Africa’s most endangered big cat. Here’s how your donation could help:
£10 pays for a health check 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 trains five farmers as part of our farmer training programme
£500 helps us to assist Somaliland’s MoECC with cheetah cub rescues
£1000 provides the care and veterinary support a rescued cheetah needs for one year
We know times are hard, but please, if you can, give a gift and help continue our vital work to protect cheetahs.