Message to rich Middle Eastern residents: please stop keeping cheetahs as pets!

This is a plea to the rich residents of the Middle East who want to keep a cheetah as a pet; please stop it. Please stop it now. What you’re doing is cruel. You are damaging the conservation of the cheetah severely. You are presenting to the world that this beautiful creature, the world’s fastest land animal, is an accoutrement, a possession like any other. You are being self-indulgent and short-sighted. You are not thinking about the wider implications and consequences. You are not taking on board the fact that half of the cubs trafficked into the Middle East die on the way.

You are not taking into account the fact that these cubs are taken from their mother. They may be weaned too early and probably are. They may have mental health problems as a result. To the outside world your behaviour looks bad. It is time for you to grow up and take responsibility for your actions.

Sad picture of cheetah cub saved from being trafficked to the Middle East to be a pet to the rich
Sad picture of cheetah cub saved from being trafficked to the Middle East to be a pet to the rich. Photo: Cheetah Conservation Fund.
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The Mail Online reports that cheetah cubs are being illegally smuggled into the Gulf emirates where they are kept a status symbol pets. They further state that there are barely 7,000 cheetahs left in the wild; a reduction from about a hundred thousand a century ago.

The cheetah is being persecuted on all sides. Not only is there this illegal trafficking of precious cubs but hunters and farmers have slashed their numbers where they live. Add to that habitat loss due to increased human population in African. Because of human persecution they are becoming highly endangered. Their survival in the wild is jeopardized.

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This is typical of humankind. Take the most precious and beautiful animal and the rich want to possess it. It is a desire to possess the rare objects of the world. And as the cheetah becomes rarer in the wild their monetary value increases. And as their value goes up the rich in the Middle East will have a greater desire to possess them. And so, you have this downward spiral towards extinction.

And because humankind thinks short-term, they ignore the long-term consequences. It is the same mentality which allows global warming to continue. It is short-termism, a great failure in humankind’s thinking. And a terrible indictment of the poor relationship between humans and nature. Grow up people!

Apparently, the Cheetah Conservation Fund is working with Somaliland to stop the dangerous pet trade and to try and save this endangered wild cat species. The picture on this page was taken at the Cheetah Conservation Fund rescue centre in Somaliland. I presume that it is one cub that was saved from this trade.

We don’t see the cubs that didn’t pull through. That died on the way. That were torn from their mother crying and screaming. Their mothers confused and searching for their cubs.

Cheetah in car in Dubai
Cheetah in car in Dubai. Photo: in public domain.

The founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Laurie Marker, is worried that one of the cheetah cubs they are looking after, a frail infant that they have nicknamed ‘Green’ won’t pull through as he weighs less than 2 pounds.

It is touch and go for ‘Green’. They state that every year about 300 cheetah cubs are trafficked from Somaliland to the rich in the Middle East who seek exotic pets. We are told that they are shipped out of Africa through war-torn Yemen and then to the Gulf. They are sold for $15,000 on the black market.

Map showing trafficking route for cheetah cubs
Map showing trafficking route for cheetah cubs. Image: Daily Mail.

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The map provided by the Daily Mail newspaper helps us understand the trafficking route. Somaliland is just south of Yemen and therefore it is quite a short sea journey across the Gulf of Aden into Yemen and thence onward to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

Between 2010 and 2019 more than 3600 light cheetahs were illegally traded worldwide. Marker says that if this trait keeps on going the cheetah population in Africa will become extinct. Humankind will be left with cheetahs in zoos where they can’t run at 70 mph. Is that what humankind wants?

P.S. The cheetah has a nice disposition. They are quite shy and can be domesticated to a certain extent. There is a long history in the Middle East of cheetahs as pets. Hunting with cheetahs was commonplace. Rich humans are abusing the cheetahs nice character.

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