Target: President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma
Goal: Stop the smuggling of cheetah cubs and help save this species from extinction.
The smuggling of cheetah cubs out of from Africa and into the Middle East is driving this magnificent species to extinction. Owning a cheetah cub is considered a major status symbol, and since these animals are extremely easy to tame, especially as cubs, wealthy individuals have no real incentive not to purchase them. This smuggling act needs to stop, as cheetahs belong in the wild, and not in the homes of humans.
The rising trade of smuggling cheetah cubs is driving the population to extinction. Cheetahs are notoriously hard to breed in captivity and up to two-thirds of the cheetah population is being smuggled across Africa. These animals often die while they are in transit because smugglers do not care for the welfare of these animals.
Cheetahs are also coveted for their fur, which is also considered a high status symbol. Cheetahs are already threatened by other human activity, such as poaching, habit loss, and trophy hunting, which is legal in many countries that cheetahs call home.
Authorities have uncovered videos and received eye witness testimonies of cheetahs riding in the passenger side of cars, being walked on a leash, exercised on treadmills, or wrestling with their owners, sometimes with small children. While these exotic animals are beautiful and gorgeous, they should not be considered pets. Urge the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, to stop this smuggling ring, as these animals belong in the wild, not in households.
Dear President Jacob Zuma,
Cheetah cubs in Africa are being smuggled out of the country and into the Middle East to be sold as high status symbol pets. This issue is of dire importance in South Africa as the hunting and smuggling of cheetahs is centered in this region. Annually, about 90 live captive-bred cheetahs are taken out of the country where they are sent to zoos, according to The Guardian. Unfortunately, legal loopholes in South Africa allow the country to capture wild cheetahs and smuggle them out of the country under the classification that these animals are captive bred. The country has tighter restrictions on exporting wild cheetahs, but the restriction is lax when it applies to captive bred ones, hence how so many cheetahs are taken out of the country.
I urge your government to do something about this problem immediately. If it means drafting harsher laws, recruiting more park rangers, or tightening border controls, then please do so. These animals belong in the wild, not in a household.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo via Flickr