Keeping cheetahs as exotic pets is a growing problem in the Arabian Peninsula countries.
Some believe that owning a cheetah reflects the high status of the owner. Others maintain that keeping cheetahs in private ownership may prevent the species’ extinction. While still others buy cheetahs to rescue them from the hands of smugglers.
Whatever the reason, hundreds of cheetah cubs are smuggled every year from Africa to the Arabian Peninsula and suffer a 70 percent mortality rate (those that do survive cannot be returned to the wild even if rescued).
Law enforcement officers, CITES authorities and NGOs from Cheetah range states and other key countries involved in its illegal trade came together in an IFAW-supported workshop in Kuwait recently to discuss ways to combat the trafficking.
The draft recommendations from this workshop include:
- Urgently develop and launch national public awareness campaigns aimed at changing behaviour to reduce the illegal offer and demand of cheetahs.
- Engage with social media platforms and search engines to address illegal trade in cheetah.
- Increase the national enforcement actions concerning the illegal trade in cheetahs.
- Establish mechanisms to ensure regular, timely and effective communication between the countries where the trafficking takes place.
- Collaborate on the humane placement of confiscated live cheetahs in national or regional rescue centers.
The recommendations will be presented to the CITES Standing Committee in January 2016 in Geneva.
IFAW hopes that these draft recommendations will be adopted and enforced properly to save what is left of cheetahs in the wild before it is too late.
Article source: IFAW