Insatiable appetite for cheetah pets in Middle East threatens their existence in the wild
The glorious, exotic cheetah, the formula one car of the animal kingdom is being pushed to the brink of extinction in the wild because of an insatiable desire for cheetah selfies and the desire of the rich citizens of the Gulf states to possess them as pets.
The cheetah is particularly fashionable as an exotic pet in the Middle East where they fetch £15,000 (US$19,128). The Times newspaper tells us that more than 300 cubs are shipped from the Horn of Africa to the Gulf states annually to feed an increasing demand.
This hungry demand for cheetah cubs drives poachers in the lands of cheetahs such as Namibia, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia to seek out dens where the females give birth and to steal her offspring.
Shahad al-Jaber a 34-year-old Arab Instagramer loves her cheetahs. She has no idea that she encourages the extinction of cheetahs in the wild. She has a busy Instagram account. Her cheetahs are Mark and Shahad. They live in an apartment in Kuwait City! An apartment, really this is madness. The cats spend most of the time in cages. She had wanted a lion-tiger hybrid (a liger) but settled on cheetahs. Many of her friends have lions as pets. She wanted something bigger than the domestic cat as a pet. Self-indulgence gone mad, I’d say.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of the cubs die on the journey to the Middle East. It is utterly depressing and shocking. In the United Arab Emirates it is estimated that there are 3,00 cheetahs kept as pets despite it being illegal to own a cheetah. Or to breed or trade in them.
Social media is responsible for ‘an explosion’ of trade in illegal wildlife said Kathleen Miles from the Alliance to Counter Crime Online. Social media provides a platform to show off the animals and trade them.
“Sheiks posing with cheetahs in their cars is a fairly typical example. It is blatant” – Kathleen Miles.
Comment: What are the owners of social media websites doing about it? I don’t see anything. This is another failure for social media particularly Facebook. There is a lot wrong with Facebook.
Here is a man in Nigeria selling cheetah cubs on Facebook:
[…] Cheetahs are still hunted for their skins in some areas. There is an illegal trade in cheetah cubs to Gulf states where they are kept as pets. […]