The fastest land mammals and the sprinters of the cat world, CHEETAHS' long and lanky bodies are designed to run fast for short distances. They can go from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds and catch the prey that other big cats can't get. Their claws are hard and sharp like cleats which do not fully retract. Cheetahs, unlike other big cats, cannot roar, rather, they purr and chirp much like house cats. The Cheetah population has declined to approximately 7,000 due to habitat loss, conflict with humans, game hunters, infectious disease, and road kill.
POPULATION STATUS VULNERABLE: Live cheetahs are caught and traded illegally to the pet trade, and they are also hunted for their skins. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington
Convention or CITES, reports on average only three confiscations of illegally traded live cheetahs are reported per year, however, this is an underestimate of the real trade. Most of these cheetahs are destined for the pet trade market in the Gulf States. The consumer countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are parties to CITES and prohibit wild cheetah imports, but still have a high volume of illegal imports. Cheetah skins are also traded, often alongside leopard skins, within Africa and Asia. As most cheetah subpopulations are small, even a low level of illegal trade could be threatening wild populations.
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