ADDIS ABEBA – At least four cheetah cubs are smuggled out of Ethiopia every month, director of Ethiopia’s Wildlife Conservation Authority (WCA) said.
Locals were financially lured into capturing the cubs, WCA director Daniel Pawlos told the BBC. They are paid 10,000 to 15,000 Ethiopian birr ($310 to $466) for each cub.
The cubs are first smuggled to Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, and then trafficked to Saudi Arabia and the UAE through Yemen.
Daniel said that the cubs were sold on the black market for more than $10,000 to rich people who want to keep them as exotic pets and as a status symbol.
The cubs are also being smuggled and illegally traded, he said.
“Last August, an Ethiopian man was arrested in Somaliland for trafficking a lion cub. We managed to get back the cub to Ethiopia and placed it in our rescue center,” said Daniel.
Image: Illegal trade is a threat to cheetahs [Photo Getty]