Cheetahs ‘sell for $6,000’ on social media in Saudi Arabia

Traders and pet owners who sell these exotic animals on social media usually lack the right training to take care of them

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Saudis are paying over $6,000 for cheetahs listed for sale on social media networks, where people are able to buy or sell exotic animals without a license, the local Saudi Gazette daily reported on Thursday.

The animals are offered for sale on the internet for prices ranging from $6,000-6,500 – yet are only worth $1,500 back in their own continent of Africa, said Ezzeddin al-Osaimi, a big cat trainer.

A cheetah breeder, Sameer al-Sulaimani, told Saudi Gazette that he had bought his exotic pet from an individual in the capital Riyadh. It now lives in his home in Makkah.

Traders and pet owners who sell these exotic animals on social media do not usually have a license and lack the right training or qualifications to take care of them.

Osaimi stated that these animals have in the past caused a number of accidents.

“I have noticed that some people breed predators more powerful than cheetahs, like lion and tiger in their homes without any knowledge or experience,” the trainer added, saying that owners were “ignoring the danger posed by such animals,” he said.

Saudi’s wildlife authority chief Saudi Prince Bandar bin Saud said in a previous statement that a royal decree has been issued banning the import of exotic animals as pets.

Only three agencies are licensed to do so: university research centers, zoos and recreational exhibitors.

He also said that he had seen videos showing people breeding predators inside their homes and residential areas and warned that the government will “impose the highest punishment on such violators.”

In Saudi’s neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, owning an endangered animal as a pet is illegal.

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