Friday, June 17, 2011

Wild animal trade: here kitty, kitty kitty

Kerri meets a cheetah at the vet. She would like you to know she just came from pilates.

There has been loads of ink spilled lately about the shocking trade in wild animals, including this piece by The National's Colin Simpson on what officials call the "chronic" flow from Somalia. 
As Simpson reports, a cheetah cub sells for between Dh30,000 and Dh50,000 in the UAE. Wow. The largest shipment to be intercepted in the last year in Dubai contained 15 cheetah cubs. Only four of them lived through the smuggling process, said Dr Elsayyed Mohamed, the programme manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare's Dubai office, because "they are very delicate animals and need a certain degree of care". Like not being stolen from their natural habitats as babies and stuffed into suitcases for days just so a few ignorant rich people can show off, I imagine.

People collect exotic animals all over the world, of course. But it seems to be a particular problem in the Middle East and the UAE, where escaped animals are a semi-regular happening and zoos are filled with cast-offs that just got too big and wild.  

This is twice now a friend of mine has gone to the vet with a normal pet, only to be greeted with a cheetah someone has brought for treatment. Totally normal night in Abu Dhabi.

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