Save Cheetahs 2005

Saving Cheetahs in the Wild

Big Cat Rescue is saving cheetahs. We post the latest in cheetah news here and in our newsletter The Big Cat Times. We gather news from around the world DAILY and forward it to The Global Federation of Sanctuaries and the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, of which we are a part, who are actively involved in saving cheetahs and other exotic animals. See what you can do to help save these exotic cats in captivity and in the wild. Great and Lesser Cats are in peril around the world and need people like you, who care about cheetahs and other exotic cats to help save them from the brink of extinction. Big Cat Rescue is working to make it illegal to sell exotic cats as pets and is diligently striving to improve conditions for big cats in zoos and circuses.

Watch this video from CNN HERE

One way to help save wild animals in their native habitats is through Eco-Tourism and our friend, Hamadi, founder of African Wildcats Adventure Safaris, assures us that his guides respect the animals and that his company is taking active steps to protect Kenya’s wildlife and habitat. If you are thinking above a trip to Africa, check out WildcatsSafaris.com

U.S. Troops Find Abused Cheetah Cubs

By ANTHONY MITCHELL, AP

The soldiers of the U.S. counterterrorism task force for the Horn of Africa were in the region carrying out humanitarian work when they came across the three-month-old cheetahs “performing” at a restaurant run by Mohamed Hudle. The Djibouti-based task force provides intelligence-gathering help to countries in the region, tries to bolster cooperation and border protection, and mounts humanitarian projects aimed at improving the U.S. military’s image among Muslims.

The troops provided medical treatment to the blinded cub, fed them both and tried to persuade Mohamed to hand them over to wildlife officials. They contacted U.S. based cheetah experts as well as Ethiopian authorities.

U.S. military officials refused to discuss the animal rights turn their hearts and minds campaign took in Gode. But Befekadu Refera, an official of the Environmental Protection Agency in the capital, Addis Ababa, confirmed the U.S. military had contacted his agency about the cubs and even offered to fly the pair to Addis Ababa, 684 miles away for care.

The cheetah is endangered because of loss of habitat, poaching and other factors, according to the international Cheetah Conservation Fund.

In Gode Wednesday, the rescue appeared to have hit a snag.

“I don’t see why I should hand them over,” Mohamed said. “When I was younger I looked after goats and camels, so I know what animals need.”

Mohamed said he would only give up the cheetahs if he was paid $1,000 for each cub – 10 times the average income in this impoverished Horn of Africa nation with an estimated 77 million people.

His sons, 4-year-old Abraham and 2-year-old Nur, pulled the cubs’ tails and dragged them around their sun-parched yard by ropes tied tightly to their necks. Other children followed, poking and teasing the frightened cats.

Mohamed, 43, said he bought the cubs from poachers and he does not know what happened to the mother. The poachers had kicked the female cub in the face, blinding the animal, he said.

Keeping wild animals is illegal without a special license, but Ethiopia ‘s wildlife laws are rarely enforced. Mohamed also has a hawk with a broken wing and three scrawny baby ostriches.

Deputy Wildlife Minister Ahmed Nisir has sent officials to try to secure the cheetahs’ release and a government vet is expected to visit Saturday.

“Unless these cubs are properly looked after and cared for they will soon die,” said Befekadu of the Environmental Protection Agency.

If they are brought to the capital, Befekadu said, they would be cared for on the large grounds of the National Palace, home to several Abyssinian lions rescued by former Emperor Haile Selassie.

11/25/05 08:59 EST

What you can do about it:

Due to the political issues involved, Big Cat Rescue could not fly in and rescue these innocent cheetah kittens.  Even in cases where we could come to the rescue of an exotic cat who has been abused, we are frequently unable to do so due to the lack of funds necessary to provide a permanent home.  There is no place for animals like these to go and no reason why they should be born into lives of misery, abuse and deprivation.

There is absolutely no justification for exotic cats to be held as the property of private citizens.  Even here in America exotic cats are treated just as badly by being chained in basements, back yards and worse.  Most of these animals suffer and die in silence because there are no laws to protect them.  You can bring this sort of suffering to an end by the choices you make and the time you take to speak up for them.  Legislation cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless.  Many good bills, that would protect animals at least in the U.S., die every year because not enough people will take five minutes to contact their lawmakers.

Be the one who makes a difference today by visiting our easy to use service at CatLaws.com

 

 

Troops hope to rescue cheetah cubs

Sunday, November 27, 2005 Anthony Mitchell Associated Press

Gode, Ethiopia

Two endangered cheetah cubs held captive and abused at a remote village restaurant are to be rescued by an Ethiopian veterinarian and U.S. soldiers, an environmental official said.

Befekadu Refera, an official of the national Environmental Protection Agency, said the veterinarian would take the cheetahs away from Gode on Saturday and hand them to U.S. troops for safekeeping until the animals are flown to the capital, Addis Ababa.

“The U.S. Army will not take the cheetahs without Ethiopian officials being present,” Befekadu told The Associated Press. “The vet will give some medical treatment to the animals, and then on Monday or Tuesday they will be flown to Addis Ababa courtesy of the U.S Army.”

The plight of the cubs has gathered international attention since American soldiers, part of the U.S. counterterrorism task force for the Horn of Africa, last month discovered the animals tied up and being forced to fight each other for the amusement of patrons at the Gode restaurant. One cheetah has an eye infection and may be blind.

The soldiers tried to persuade restaurant owner Mohamed Hudle to hand over the cubs to wildlife officials. Mohamed refused, saying he wanted $1,000 for each cheetah — 10 times the average income in this impoverished nation of 77 million people.

The soldiers also contacted U.S.-based cheetah experts as well as Ethiopian authorities, who have intervened. They checked up on the cubs over the following weeks and discovered they were being mistreated.

“I don’t see why I should hand them over,” the owner, Mohamed, told AP. “When I was younger I looked after goats and camels, so I know what animals need.”

Mohamed, 43, said he bought the cubs from poachers, who had kicked the female cub in the face, blinding the animal.

The cheetah is endangered because of loss of habitat, poaching and other factors, according to the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Keeping wild animals is illegal without a special license, but Ethiopia ‘s wildlife laws are rarely enforced. Mohamed also has a hawk with a broken wing and three malnourished baby ostriches.

Befekadu, of the EPA, said once the cubs are brought to the capital, they would be cared for on the large grounds of the National Palace, home to several Abyssinian lions, descendants of lions rescued by former Emperor Haile Selassie.

U.S. Takes Custody of Abused Cheetahs

– By ANTHONY MITCHELL, Associated Press Writer Monday, November 28, 2005

(11-28) 04:46 PST ADDIS ABABA , Ethiopia (AP) —

Two cheetah cubs held captive and abused at a remote village restaurant in eastern Ethiopia are now in the custody of a government veterinarian and U.S. troops, a senior official said Monday.

Government vet, Fekadu Shiferaw, confiscated the 3-month-old cheetahs on Sunday from a restaurant owner in Gode, where they were being forced to fight each other for the amusement of children.

He gave them to U.S. troops for safekeeping until they can be flown to Addis Ababa , about 700 miles west of Gode, said Kifle Argaw, the government’s senior wildlife vet.

“They are in the custody of the authorities and will receive medical treatment,” Kifle said. “The U.S military have also agreed to divert a plane to Addis Ababa on Tuesday so we can bring the cheetahs and the vet to the capital.”

The soldiers, part of the U.S. counterterrorism task force for the Horn of Africa , were in the region carrying out humanitarian work when they came across the cheetahs and alerted the government.

Mohamed Hudle, the restaurant’s owner, said he bought the cubs from poachers and does not know what happened to their mother. The poachers had kicked the female cub in the face, blinding the animal, he said.

Keeping wild animals is illegal without a special license, but Ethiopia ‘s wildlife laws are rarely enforced. Mohamed also has a hawk with a broken wing and three scrawny baby ostriches.

Kifle said that the government is also planning to confiscate the ostriches and hawk.

The cheetah is endangered worldwide, in large part because of loss of habitat and poaching, according to the Cincinnati-based Cheetah Conservation Fund. URL:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2005/11/28/

international/i044657S08.DTL

 

 

 

We (almost) buy a canned cheetah

Fiona Macleod 11 August 2005 11:00

The Mail & Guardian stopped just short of buying two tame cheetahs for a “canned” hunt this week. The deal came to an end when we refused to fork out about R100 000 and failed to produce a letter from a European embassy approving the export of the cheetahs’ heads.

Our investigation into cheetah hunting started about two months ago, when an overseas contact alerted us to a website offering them for sale. The site prominently features a hunter showing off a dead cheetah.

Cheetahs are on the verge of extinction in South Africa . Conservationists say South Africa does not have a quota for the sport hunting of cheetahs or for the export of cheetah trophies.

Believing the hunt illegal, we contacted the advertiser — Alexander Steyn, of Steyn Safari in Northern Cape . Steyn and his brother set up the outfit near Kimberley in 1994 and claim to “have seen the company grow to one of the leading hunting operations in the region”.

Through an Afrikaans-speaking “agency” in Limpopo , we negotiated with Steyn to buy two cheetahs and two lions. He told us two cheetahs were available costing R45 000 each, permits included.

The prices for the lions ranged from R180 000 for “the biggest lion available in South Africa at the moment” to about R30 000 for lionesses. Various other species, including endangered species such as rhinos and sables, and novelties such as white lions and scimitar oryx, were also on offer.

Using a European passport, we posed as a Greek woman who wanted to hunt the predators and who planned to visit South Africa with her Saudi boyfriend, cheetah breeding and hunting being popular in Saudi Arabia .

Steyn said the cheetahs would come from a tourism project, where they had been captive-bred and “were not suitable for breeding any more”. They would be moved into a hunting area for the shooting party.

He maintained the hunt would be legal because of a provincial regulation allowing for the hunting of captive-bred predators. Realising that this is one of the confusions confronting a panel of experts appointed by the national government to investigate the canned hunting industry, we pressed ahead.

Steyn asked the agent to organise a letter from the Greek embassy saying it would not have objections to the importation of the cheetah trophies. This was necessary for him to organise permits in terms of the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

We went back to the conservationists, who had told us no Cites permits could be issued for cheetahs. However, they added that the system was totally unregulated and hunting outfits were taking advantage of this.

Last year the owner of an outfit in North West province brazenly admitted on TV that he was hunting cheetahs, but no action has been taken against him.

“We know about a lot of cases where people are doing canned cheetah hunts, particularly in the Free State and North West . They are catching wild, free-roaming cheetahs, keeping them in one-hectare camps and then releasing them into larger areas when they have a buyer who wants to ‘hunt’ them,” said one cheetah expert, who did not want to be named. “ South Africa ‘s cheetahs are disappearing and no one does anything about it.”

The Mail & Guardian contacted the “Green Scorpions”, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism’s law enforcement branch. They put us in touch with a police officer operating in the Northern Cape , who said the police had been keeping an eye on Steyn’s cheetah hunting.

But, he added, he could not bust Steyn if the cheetahs he offered us were genuinely captive-bred and if he had a Cites permit to hunt them. If we went to see the cheetahs, we would be able to tell whether they were wild.

At this point we set up a meeting with Steyn, pretending to be a friend of the “hunter” who wanted to check out the animals on offer.

He said the accommodation was about 90km from Kimberley and the location where the cheetahs could be hunted was in another province, about 220km away. The lions were being bred about 150km from Kimberley , but would be hunted about 500km away.

Steyn sent the M&G photographs of the lions on offer, but not of the cheetahs. “I spent hours trying to take photos of the cheetahs, without results,” he wrote in an e-mail message. “They are shy and hid in the long grass about 50 to 100 metres away from me.”

He could not understand why we wanted the cheetah pictures. “I understand if a client wants a lion photo because the mane is important. [But] all cheetahs look the same … A photo in a book tells a client what to expect.”

The M&G’s plans to see the cheetahs on Women’s Day were scuppered when Steyn phoned at the last minute to say he wanted a 30% deposit before he would drive us out to see them.

Because we used a false passport for the “hunter”, we were also unable to get a letter approving the export of the cheetah trophies — and so never saw the Cites permits he promised to get.

When we revealed to Steyn that his cheetah hunting was the subject of a newspaper investigation, he responded furiously: “This was a setup by those green people who want to taint the names of the professional hunters, while we are just good, honest Afrikaans people trying to run an honest business.”

When asked if his business was canned hunting, he replied: “What is canned hunting? Canned hunting takes places in a fenced-off area. Yet the whole of South Africa , the whole of Africa , is fenced. The whole of Africa is canned.”

Running out of time

Cheetahs are South Africa ‘s second-most endangered predator, after wild dogs. Conservationists say they are on the edge of extinction in this country and that every animal counts in the battle to save them.

There are at most 300 of the sleek, fleet-footed cats in South Africa ‘s protected areas and less than 250 free-roaming outside protected areas. About 600 are in captivity, but only 200 of these are officially accounted for — implying that about 400 are being kept in canned hunting facilities.

Cheetahs tend to get pushed out of conservation areas because they compete for food with larger predators such as lions and spotted hyenas, and sometimes are preyed on by the larger animals. Outside the conservation areas, they come into conflict with farmers and game ranchers.

Though it is illegal to hunt cheetahs, some provinces issue permits for the removal of damage-causing animals. Hunting outfits, particularly in North West and Free State , are taking advantage of this and are making a lucrative business from catching the wild cats.

They sometimes micro-chip the cheetahs, place them in one-hectare camps, claim they are captive-bred and offer them to hunters. Alexander Steyn offered the M&G cheetahs for R45 000, but the normal asking price is R75 000 to R80 000. Cubs are being offered for sale in the Free State for about R60 000.

The De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust, a conservation centre based in North West, estimates that in the past two years alone, at least 200 wild cheetahs have been killed or removed from the wild.

Cheetahs passed through a population bottleneck of a few hundred individuals between 10 000 and 20 000 years ago, reducing their genetic viability. Inbreeding is a significant risk and only about 40% of cubs reach maturity, so each individual is vital for the species’ viability.

Hunting lobby groups are calling for the legalisation of cheetah hunts, but De Wildt is strongly opposed to the move.

At public hearings into the hunting industry convened by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism this week, conservationists argued that cheetahs are a special case, and that they need to be treated differently from other South African predators.

Save Cheetahs in the Wild

The Wildlife Conservation Network is an organization that shares our belief that the money should go to the animals and not be wasted on salaries and benefits for those who are doing the fundraising.  If you contact them and say you want 100% of your donation to go to the Cheetahs in the wild, that is exactly what will happen.

Dr. Laurie Marker is world renown for bringing attention to the plight of the fastest land mammal, the Cheetah.   She founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund and with the help of Charlie Knowles made it one of the best funded wild animal conservation funds.  She and her team of researchers are supported in part by Wildlife Conservation Network.

 

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  • Show Comments (1)

  • Fiona Ayerst

    idiot of the 100% -th degree.

     

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