Comments on the Illlegal Cheetah Pet Trade
Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), comments on Dr. Mordecai Ogada’s proposed plan to educate people and authorities about the illegal pet trade of cheetahs, and the public responses. Dr. Ogada is the East Africa Coordinator of the Regional Conservation Strategy for Cheetah.
Click here to read article about Dr. Ogada's plan on The National.
“Speaking for the Cheetah Conservation Fund, I applaud Dr. Mordecai Ogada’s two-pronged plan to stem the illegal trade of wild cheetah cubs from Africa to the Middle East. CCF is contacted fairly frequently by witnesses to cheetahs being held as pets, and, anecdotally at least, it appears that this trade is increasing. Dr. Ogada plans to train authorities and educate private cheetah owners about the threat to wild cheetahs by the illegal pet trade.
“I doubt if the people who have purchased cheetah cubs realize that only about one in four smuggled cubs survive the journey or that the mother was more than likely killed to get the cubs. Given how difficult cheetahs are to breed in captivity, the only way to fulfill the demand for cheetah cubs for the pet trade is through poaching of wild animals. The cheetah is listed as a threatened species, and the wild population cannot sustain these losses.
“Despite, or perhaps due in part to, their threatened status, cheetahs are still considered a prestigious possession in certain parts of the world. I call upon citizens of these areas, and specifically the United Arab Emirates, to declare cheetah ownership a shameful, rather than prestigious, practice. Only by doing away with demand can we put smugglers out of business. If you truly admire and appreciate the cheetah, you will do all you can to perpetuate the species in the wild. And for most people that means speaking out about the flourishing illegal pet trade of cheetahs in the UAE and other areas of the Middle East.”Laurie Marker, DPhilExecutive DirectorCheetah Conservation Fund
About the Cheetah Conservation Fund:
- The Cheetah Conservation Fund is a Namibian non-profit trust dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah and its ecosystems.
- Since 1990, the organisation has developed education and conservation programmes based on its extensive bio-medical and ecological cheetah research studies, published scientific research papers and has presented educational programmes to more than 350,000 outreach school learners, donated over 370 livestock guarding dogs to commercial and communal farmers as part of its innovative non-lethal livestock management programme, and established a cheetah genome resource bank of cheetah sperm, tissue and blood samples.
- Research into cheetah biology and ecology has greatly increased our understanding of the fastest land animal and education programmes for schools and the farming community help change public attitudes to allow predator and humans to co-exist. However, despite the many successes of CCF programmes, the cheetah is still Africa’s most endangered big cat with ~10,000 cheetahs remaining.