|A cheetah destined for the illegal pet trade confiscated in 2011|
It has been reported that the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, and the Zoological Society of London have recently joined forces with representatives from the nations of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda to call for a stop in the illegal trade of cheetahs as pets. The three African countries were prompted due to an increasing concern of diminishing populations of East African cheetahs, which are currently believed to be smuggled as pets. The Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) has recently accepted the proposal to authorize the first serious study of the trade in cheetahs that should form a groundwork in for future conservation action. Each year, many cheetahs are illegally taken from the wild as cubs since they are easy to tame. During the smuggling process, it is said that more than half of the cubs are thought to die in transportation and scientists fear that the trade could be impacting the cheetah population survival in the Horn of Africa. In 2011, the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT) recorded 27 cases involving smuggling of seventy cheetahs within a one-year period, although conservationists believe the total number of figures is much greater.
This news article highlights the growing impact of the exotic pet trade affecting our world. In addition, it also highlights the reaction of countries where exotic animals come from. In this case, the victims are cheetahs and the countries from which the reactions towards the exotic pet trade are coming are Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. All three of these countries are one of the few places in Africa that are known to contain some fairly good numbers of cheetahs, but have also served as hotspots for smuggling wildlife and other illegal activities. According to Dr. Nick Mitchell of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London, cheetahs in the wild occur at very low density numbers which means that eradication of individuals by any means can have a significant impact on the populations' survival. This is why it is extremely crucial that countries having wild animals for the exotic pet trade, and those that are prime hotspots of the business to band together in an effort to save cheetahs and other animals from this ongoing cycle of wildlife smuggling.
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