Three tiny balls of fur huddle together for warmth inside a cardboard box. The baby cheetahs are just a few weeks old, but they’ve had a traumatic start to life.
Status symbols for the rich
Cheetahs for sale
Illegal but lucrative
Trading cheetahs is prohibited under Appendix 1 of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Still, wildlife trade is a big business, and the seller CNN spoke with was likely part of a larger trafficking ring, according to law enforcement and trafficking experts.
Wildlife trafficking is estimated to be worth up to $20 billion per year, according to the UN and Interpol, and is among the top five illicit industries globally, along with drugs and human trafficking.
Illegal live animal trade used to predominantly take place on Facebook and Instagram, but Facebook has doubled down on finding abusers, says Crawford Allan, a wildlife trafficking expert with TRAFFIC at the World Wildlife Fund.
Racing to save the cheetah
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