Owning a cheetah has become a status symbol in the Middle East, according to the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), who warns their popularity as a “hot new luxury pet” is putting wild cheetah populations at greater risk – and possibly extinction.
People are paying as much as $10,000 for cubs. There has also been an increasing demand for cheetah-skin shoes.
Many of these cheetah “pets” have been illegally smuggled into the country from Somalia. Up to 70% of the cubs die before reaching the Middle East.
There are currently less than 10,000 cheetahs living in the wild – a 90% decline in population over the past 100 years.
“Extinction fears rise as cheetah becomes new luxury pet in Middle East” (Delhi Daily News)
“Cheetah smuggling driving wild population to extinction, report says” (The Guardian)