Image of cheetah cubs by Bernard DUPONT via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)
by Shreya Dasgupta on 22 October 2018
- Between February 2012 and July 2018, a total of 1,367 cheetahs were offered on sale through 906 posts on social media, a new analysis by the Cheetah Conservation Fund has found. Almost all of the investigated cheetah sale offers appear to be illegal.
- Instagram alone accounted for some 77 percent of the posts, followed by 4sale, a Kuwait-based mobile app, and YouTube.
- Nearly all of the posts had some link to the Gulf states, with more than 62 percent linked to users in Saudi Arabia, the analysis found.
Cheetahs continue to be illegally traded through social media platforms, according to a new analysis published by the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), a non-profit research and lobby organization based in Namibia.
Between February 2012 and July 2018, a total of 1,367 cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) were offered on sale through 906 posts on social media, the analysis found, with Instagram alone accounting for some 77 percent of the offerings. A Kuwait-based mobile application, 4sale, and YouTube accounted for 11 percent of the posts.
With wild cheetah populations now down to just 7,100 individuals, a decline of more than 90 percent since the turn of the 20th century, illegal trade of the animal presents an urgent threat to the species.
“Whether it is online or at an animal market, the sale of live cheetah cubs can be devastating to the wild populations in the areas where they seem to originate: eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya and Somalia/Somaliland,” Patricia Tricorache, assistant director, strategic communications and illegal wildlife trade at the CCF, said in an email. “Unfortunately little is known about how many wild cheetah exist in those areas, but it is likely that they range in the few hundreds and [are] rapidly diminishing if our estimates are correct — that is, 300 cheetah cubs per year being smuggled out of those areas for the illegal pet trade in the Gulf States. Many more die.”