In 2014, three cheetahs were bought from an eastern European dealer by Dee and Daniel Ashman of “Predator Experience” in the Lake District, England. Dee and Daniel failed to obtain planning permission for their new cheetah enclosure before they acquired the cheetahs.
The local authority, the Lake District National Park Authority, have refused to grant planning permission retrospectively (after the fact).
Daniel Ashman said:
“There has been a lot of scaremongering going on which has upset the whole of Ayside and two of the neighbouring villages. They have to be respected, but no one has ever been killed by a cheetah in a domestic or wild environment.”
They have appealed the authority’s decision and the result is out in September.
My concerns are not for the safety of the local people. Mr Ashman is correct in that cheetahs don’t attack people unless they really have to. My concern is with the trade in cheetahs. Isn’t this illegal? Is someone investigating that aspect of this story? Why is a dealer in eastern Europe trading in cheetahs throughout Europe, for heavens sake? I suspect the fact that some eastern European countries are now in the EU has facilitated this trade.
The Guardian newspaper said that cheetah smuggling is a factor in driving this species to extinction in the wild. CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – state in an undated document:
“The Secretariat shall, subject to external funding, contract independent consultants to undertake a study of the legal and illegal trade in wild cheetahs, and to assess the impact of this trade on the species conservation in the wild. The study should aim to determine the source of cheetahs in illegal trade, and the transit routes of illegally trafficked cheetahs,…..”
I doubt that the trade in the three cheetahs concerned was illegal although it might be. However, it is time to stop this. Cheetahs should not be part of a private zoo in the UK for commercial purposes. Cheetahs should be left in the wild in Africa.