What’s pushing this species to the brink of extinction? The illegal pet trade
Despite being a top predator, cheetah populations are in trouble. The species is currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN red list, but with fewer than 7,500 individuals left, scientists are urging for the cheetah to be classified as Endangered. It’s not just cheetahs at stake. They play a key role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Trafficking species, to be sold as pets abroad, threatens not only cheetahs in the wild, but also gazelle and other animal populations.
Cheetahs living in the Horn of Africa share the land with local communities comprised of farmers who rely on agriculture as their main source of income. As farmers develop land and encroach upon nearby habitat, conflict often arises with cheetahs. When cheetahs attack livestock, farmers search for ways to fill the gap in their missing profit – for some, this means illegally capturing and selling cheetah cubs.
IFAW is partnering with The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and Legal Atlas to combat cheetah and gazelle trafficking in Ethiopia, Somalia/Somaliland, and Yemen as part of the project Legal Intelligence for Cheetah Illicit Trade (LICIT).
LICIT addresses the need for stronger laws, enforcement, and cooperation along trade routes to prevent cross-border trafficking. Together we want to increase awareness of wildlife laws among law enforcers, communities, and government officials along trade routes, and support inter-regional collaboration to counter wildlife trafficking.
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