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Cheetahs Set Free

A cheetah, taken from a home of a wildlife smuggler in Arusha, Tanzania, saunters back into the wild.

Photo: © Annette Simonson

This lucky cheetah is getting a fresh start in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park, after its rescue from the hands of an illegal wildlife trader. The cat is one of three seized by authorities in the Tanzanian city of Arusha in April. The cheetahs were being kept in a house, locked into cramped cages.

The rescue team included experts from WCS, the Zoological Society of London, and Frankfurt Zoological Society, working together with the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute and the Tanzania Wildlife Division.

After the authorities seized them, the conservationists fitted each cat (two males and one female) with a satellite collar. The collars will allow the scientists to monitor the cheetahs' movements in the coming months and ensure that they are settling into their new home.

This is the first known case of cheetah trafficking in Tanzania, and, worryingly, it suggests that the illegal trade of this protected species is increasing.