Target: President of Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba
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. These cubs are snatched from their mothers, smuggled by boat from Somalia to Yemen, and then travel by road to other nations in the Middle East. About 50 to 70 percent of these cubs die during transit.
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 Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe—all 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 government of Namibia to stop this smuggling ring, as these animals belong in the wild, not in households.
Dear President Hifikepunye Pohamba,
Cheetah cubs in Africa are being smuggled out of the country and into the Middle East to be sold as high status symbol pets. Smuggles kidnap these cubs from their mothers and then transport them across Africa and to the Middle East. These smugglers do not care for the well being of these cubs, and more than half of these animals die before they finish the journey. This trade is driving these animals to extinction, and it must be stopped before these gorgeous creatures disappear from our planet forever.
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