Library:Online And International Trade In Live Cheetahs (report)

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Online And International Trade In Live Cheetahs (report)

Online and International Trade in Live Cheetahs is a briefing document written by TRAFFIC, a non-governmental organization working on wildlife trade issues in March 2024.


  • The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is one of the most threatened big cats globally, found only in 9% of their historical range, primarily in fragmented pockets in Africa and Asia.
  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, cheetahs are classified as vulnerable to extinction, with an estimated 6,500 mature individuals remaining.
  • Cheetahs face threats such as habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict. Exploitation of wild individuals through trade could have a detrimental effect on the viability of the global population.
  • Cheetahs are listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which prohibits the international trade in wild-caught cheetah specimens for commercial purposes. Exceptions are made for annual quotas for hunting trophies and live specimens granted to Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. South Africa is the only country with CITES-registered captive-breeding facilities where live specimens can be legally traded internationally, primarily for zoos and safari parks.
  • The use of the internet to trade in live cheetahs has been a growing concern. Traders use various platforms, including social media, e-commerce platforms, and mobile phone applications5. In 2022-23, TRAFFIC undertook an online survey spanning six months to determine if any notable changes have taken place or if new trade dynamics had emerged.
  • It reports on a six-month survey by TRAFFIC that found evidence of online trade in live cheetahs or display of live cheetahs as pets, using various platforms and languages.
  • The report analyses the CITES trade database for international trade in live cheetahs between 1975 and 2021, highlighting the major exporters and importers of live cheetahs, and the discrepancies between reported trade and online posts.
  • The report discusses the implications of the online trade in live cheetahs for the conservation of the species, which is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List. It also identifies some patterns and changes in the online trade dynamics, such as the use of privacy settings, the convergence with other exotic pets, and the role of Western Asia in the trade.
  • It provides some recommendations for law enforcement agencies, research organisations, and behavioural change organisations to address the illegal trade of live cheetahs and raise awareness of the relevant laws and regulations.

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