Huge market for smuggled cheetahs

Illegal African cheetahs are becoming very popular as pets for some rich individuals who pay about Dh40,000 to own such dangerous pet.

A 27-year-old UAE national from Abu Dhabi who sells cheetahs illegally in the UAE told Emirates 24|7 that all these cheetahs are smuggled into the country from African countries.

He added: "These cheetahs are mainly exported from African countries to Somalia. From there, they are exported to Yemen and then it is smuggled into the UAE from Saudi borders. This is done by highly experienced people who have been doing this for a very long time."

He added: "We buy these cheetahs which are aged about one month old for Dh15,000. Then, we sell each between Dh35,000 to Dh40,000 to buyers. The price can go higher depending on the quality of the cheetahs and the buyers."

He added that they buy between ten to 15 cheetahs each time. "Many of these cheetahs die on the way from Africa to the UAE due to the bad transportation methods used while moving them from one place to the other. At the end, only 10 to 15 cheetahs survive and this is what we get. The demand on these cheetahs is very high as they are very popular pets for many rich individuals in the GCC."

He pointed out that the cheetahs they get are aged between one to two months old. "We keep them in our farms for a month till we get the buyers. These are mainly wealthy individuals who like keeping such pets at their farm houses or villas."

He added that taking care of these cheetahs is too expensive as they eat about three fresh chickens every day and this increases as they grow older.

He added that demand for King Cheetah is very high as it is a rare type of cheetahs.

"The King Cheetah is a rare kind of cheetah which is very difficult to find or sell. We don't have such cheetah available because it is very rare and also very difficult to smuggle into the country. Buyers will pay very high price to own such rare pet."

The cheetah is a typical member of the cat family and it is unique in its speed. Cheetah is the fastest land animal, reaching speeds between 112 and 120 km/h in short bursts covering distances up to 460 m, and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 103 km/h in three seconds, faster than most supercars.

Recent studies confirm the cheetah's status as the fastest land animal.


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