Young cheetahs being sold as pets on black market, despite laws against ownership
Young cheetahs are on the market in Qatar for US$10,000, despite local laws against keeping wild animals as pets.
According to Doha News, a four-and-a-half-month cheetah was sold for QAR35,000, a little less than the QAR40,000 specimen advertised via online classifieds site Qatar Living. The cat, bought in Africa, was then going to head to America, but other kittens are available for sale.
Although Qatar is signed up to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), photos of residents walking their monkeys or keeping cheetahs on the passenger seat of cars and boats frequently appear in local newspapers and on social networks. Veterinarians also warn that the behaviour of cheetahs can change from being docile when young to highly aggressive as they mature.
Cheetahs are known for being the world's fastest land animals, reaching up to 60mph. According to World Wildlife Fund, cheetahs are a protected species and at risk of extinction.
Poachers hunt the cats for their fur, which sells on the black market for around US$5,000 per coat. Cheetahs are also facing progressive destruction of their natural habit, making inbreeding more common.