Return to Transcripts main page


Grand Bahama Survivors Frustrated By Lack Of Government Response; Four Missing After Cargo Ship Capsizes Off Georgia Coast; Trump Cancels Secret Camp David Talks With Taliban; Chef Jose Andres Works To Help Hurricane Dorian Victims; More And More From A Number Of 2020 Contenders Saying Foul Language; Cheetah Trafficking In Somaliland. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 8, 2019 - 19:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: And now, rescuers are working to stabilize the ship before they can resume their operation. We know it was carrying cars when it flipped, but we still don't know what happened.

The rescues that did take place happened about two hours after the initial dispatch call. In some cases, crew members were hoisted to helicopters, others were lowered to boats waiting below.

I want to bring in Peter Goelz. He is the former managing director of the NTSB.

So glad to have you with us, Peter. You've investigated a number of accidents like this. Anything jump out to you as we look at those images that could explain how this happened?

PETER GOELZ, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: Well, this is an extraordinary sight, Ana. And I think the thing that most stands out is that this is a new vessel, you know, constructed -- went to sea in 2017, so it's got the latest safety and navigation equipment.

It had a pilot on board who was familiar with the local seaways. Why did it get into trouble so quickly after leaving its moorings and its docking? And I think you're going to look directly at the -- probably one of the four ways in which the vehicles get in and out of the -- of the vessel.

You know, it carries in excess of 4,000 vehicles. There are four ways in and out usually, and one of them may not have been tied down the way it should have been because this thing got over on its side awfully quickly.

CABRERA: What do you make of the response time for the rescue, two hours after the initial dispatch call?

GOELZ: Well, I mean, that's -- that's a little slow, but, you know, they've had their hands full in that neck of the woods over the past week with the -- with the hurricane. The NTSB is sending a fairly small team to assist the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is going to take the lead, but the NTSB will certainly look at the response time. That will be one of their areas.

CABRERA: I mean, this ship is enormous. What is it going to take to search the entire thing for the four people still missing?

GOELZ: Well, that's the -- that's the issue. You know, it's -- it could be that these four individuals were deep in the bowels of the ship, in the engine room or some other -- some other place far below deck. They may not -- you know, they may not be injured, or they could be. It's going to be a painstaking search, and it will take, you know, hours, if not days.

CABRERA: Wow, hours, if not days. How do you even begin to remove a wreck this size from the water?

GOELZ: Well, you've got to stabilize it. You've got to do some counterflooding to get it upright. You're going to use a number of massive tugs to move it -- to pull it back into an upright floating position. It's going to be a very delicate job. It will take probably a couple of weeks to do it.

CABRERA: Would there be environmental concerns?

GOELZ: Well, you're always concerned about any kind of fuel leakage, and particularly, you know, this -- as I said, there's 4,000-plus vehicles inside the cargo. All of them have a small amount of gasoline.

But I think the point is no one has seen any fuel leaking from the vessel, which would indicate it didn't hit anything. Whatever happened happened quickly and happened internally.

CABRERA: OK, Peter Goelz, great information. Really appreciate you taking the time with us, thank you.

GOELZ: Many thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Now, to the Bahamas where, this weekend, recovery workers are finding the bodies of more people killed by Hurricane Dorian. The official death toll, now 44 people, but the search is far from over and the whereabouts of hundreds of people are still unknown.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann talked to survivors who decided to ride out this killer hurricane and now regret it.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Washington Smith, Smitty to his friends, no longer recognizes his backyard or the island where he has lived all his life. Hurricane Dorian stalled out over the eastern end of Grand Bahama Island, ravaging everything and everyone in its path.

Dorian punched holes in concrete, tore houses from their foundations, and flung Smitty's 6,000-pound Humvee through a wall. Worse than the storm, Smitty told us, is the lack of government response over a week now after the storm first hit the Bahamas. Smitty, like many people, is running out of patience.

WASHINGTON SMITH, HURRICANE DORIAN SURVIVOR: Grand Bahama right now is dead. It's dead, and now this make it worse. This make it worse. One hateful part about all of this, all of this happened in the east Grand Bahama, and I haven't seen a government official yet to come to say, well, here is a bottle of water or to see what's going on.


OPPMANN (voice-over): The damage to Smitty's home defies description. A wall of water crashed over this part of the island. Smitty and his teenage daughter survived; many others did not.

OPPMANN (on camera): This is the hole that Hurricane Dorian punched into the house of Washington Smith. I should say one of the holes. Tore off his roof, send boards with nails flying at over a hundred miles an hour through his house.

Everywhere you go, you see -- you see damage. You see how the shrapnel shredded the ceiling. Careful with this. You see a nail sticking out of a board that came flying through. And then the most frightening thing is you see where the water rose to all along here.

It came up, up, higher and higher, until here. This is over 20 feet high, and it stayed this high for 50 hours. He said it was 50 hours of pure torture.

Little aid has reached this area. In many places, the only road in is blocked or underwater. As they wait for government assistance, some residents, like Marilyn Laing in the town of High Rock, have taken it upon themselves to organize a relief effort, distributing supplies donated by friends and family. Staying busy, she tells us, keeps her from reliving the horror of the storm.

MARILYN LAING, VOLUNTEER AID ORGANIZER AND HURRICANE DORIAN SURVIVOR: I have no words to say how bad. Maybe one in 10 house -- one is 10 houses standing.

OPPMANN (voice-over): There is silence in these hard-hit towns. The stench of death in the air as bodies are still being recovered. U.S. Coast Guard helicopters hovering low, residents say, usually means another victim of the storm has been found. There has never been a storm like Dorian before here.

SMITH: From 1962, I ride out every storm here in Bevan Town.

OPPMANN (on camera): Is this -- would you ride out the next storm?

SMITH: No. I tell my daughter, I say, when I hear a storm coming now, by the help of the good lord, I'll pack up and get as far the hell as I could from here.


CABRERA: Again, Patrick Oppmann reporting there. Coming up, that secret Camp David summit scrapped by the President.

Why President Trump wanted Taliban leaders here in the U.S. just days before the 9/11 anniversary.



CABRERA: The effort to end America's longest war will have to be put on hold for now. President Trump revealing in a series of tweets that he planned on holding secret peace talks today with leaders of the Taliban at Camp David, but he decided to call them off, citing a car bomb attack carried out by the Taliban in Kabul that killed U.S. soldier Elis Barreto Ortiz last week.

Today, on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the President's decision to invite the Taliban onto U.S. soil and Trump's decision to scrap the meeting.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: You know, it was just a few weeks ago -- and I'm sure you're well aware of this. It was just a few weeks ago that the Taliban put out a video in which they supported the 9/11 attacks, reiterating their support for the 9/11 attacks, blaming it -- blaming the 9/11 attacks on the United States and foreign policy.

I guess the question would be here is an organization that still supports 9/11, still believes that the United States was to blame, we brought that on ourselves. Why bring people like that to Camp David? I understand why you want to negotiate for peace, but why bring people like that to Camp David?

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Jake, we're trying to get this accomplished. The American people are demanding it now, almost two decades and the loss of life. When I was with that family last night, amazing patriots, almost the whole family -- Sergeant Barreto's father himself served honorably in the United States Armed Forces.

We have an obligation to do everything we can to protect those men and women and take down that risk. That's what President Trump was aiming to do. We understand who the Taliban are. There's no more clear-eyed administration.


CABRERA: That brings us to your "Weekend Presidential Brief," a segment we bring you every Sunday night featuring the most pressing natural security issues the President will wake up to tomorrow. And with us now is CNN National Security Analyst, Samantha Vinograd, who helped prepare the daily presidential briefing for President Obama.

Sam, all this comes just days before the 18th anniversary of 9/11. What do you make of all this?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, unfortunately, Ana, negotiating with the Taliban is a necessary evil if we want stability in Afghanistan. Obama did it. But what Obama didn't do was announce a drawdown decision before we had a deal, invite the Taliban to Camp David, or try to negotiate with the Taliban by tweet.

What all this means is that the national security team right now is trying to get negotiations back on track while concurrently trying to mitigate against the increased risk of violence by the Taliban in light of our decision to cancel these talks. Violence is the Taliban's trump card, and it is likely they will try to retaliate against the United States because they feel spurned at the negotiating table at this juncture.

Even if we salvage negotiations, we have to be clear about what this deal is and what it isn't. This is not a comprehensive ceasefire agreement for Afghanistan. This deal between the United States and the Taliban is a withdrawal agreement.

So even if we get it, it's likely that internal conflict in Afghanistan will continue. Trump has said that that's not our problem, but unfortunately, as we've learned over the last 18 years, what happens in Afghanistan doesn't stay in Afghanistan.

CABRERA: Another Trump tweet continues to draw attention. You know the one about Hurricane Dorian threatening Alabama last Sunday, but now we've learned there's even a directive that NOAA can't contradict him. How much does that worry you?


VINOGRAD: Well, especially in times of crisis, the U.S. government is supposed to be a platform for reliable information. Instead, during Dorian, President Trump seemingly took a page from Putin. He spread misinformation, and he engaged in censorship of anything that did not match up with his personal narrative.

That censorship has real security costs. At a minimum, if U.S. government agencies are not allowed to push out real news, people won't know what to do to save their own lives, to get out of the way of danger. Instead, U.S. government agencies are being asked to condone fake news, which is spreading panic and, again, endangers American security.

Over the longer term, President Trump is degrading the credibility of the U.S. government's statements. At this point, Americans don't know what's fact or fiction. Our allies and our enemies don't know whether what the U.S. government is officially saying is fact. What all that means is that President Trump's actions may have real human consequences.

CABRERA: You mentioned Putin. He just engaged in a prisoner swap with the Ukrainians. Does that signal a thaw in the relationship between those two countries?

VINOGRAD: Putin would probably like us to think so, but there is a comprehensive ceasefire agreement known as the Minsk agreements that outline -- Russia and Ukraine have signed it, that outline how to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, how to end the war.

One of the conditions is a hostage exchange. And there was a prisoner swap whereby, for example, the Russians returned Ukrainian sailors that were captured last year. But there are a series of other steps that Russia needs to take. They are still supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine, and, as I mentioned, the war is still continuing.

While this war rages on, President Trump's support for Ukraine is really wavering. He's frozen $250 million in security assistance while his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is in Ukraine trying to dig up dirt on Vice President Biden. This really sends a signal to the Ukrainians, and potentially to Putin, that President Trump is holding Ukraine's security hostage to his own personal ambitions and political agenda.

CABRERA: Sam Vinograd, as always, really appreciate it.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Thank you.

Coming up, cussing up a storm on the campaign trail. What's with all the profanity, and does it help or hurt with voters?


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No other country comes close, so, yes, this is (INAUDIBLE) up.



CABRERA: More heartbreak today from the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. The official death toll rising again, 44 people now confirmed dead with officials fully expecting that number to rise dramatically as recovery crews urgently search collapsed homes and piles of debris.

And I want to bring in celebrity chef Jose Andres. He has a front-row seat to all of this unfolding humanitarian crisis, and he is doing his part in the Bahamas to help, feeding Hurricane Dorian survivors through his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen.

Chef, it's been a week since we spoke, and I've been following you on Twitter. The work you're doing there is amazing. Tell us how many people have you fed, and what are you witnessing?

JOSE ANDRES, FOUNDER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: Well, we are finishing the count for today, but I think, today, we did, again, around 20,000 meals, a little bit more. I think so far, we've done 80-something. Probably we're going to be reaching, by tomorrow, in the north of 90,000.

Actually, on Monday, we've been working from Nassau right here from Atlantis, which is a resort that happens I have a restaurant, and they've been super helpful. We began just planning what happens if this is a massive Hurricane 5 and destroys these two beautiful islands of Grand Abaco and Grand Bahama, and we began thinking big.

We knew we needed helicopters, we will need a boat, and we began planning for that. Unfortunately, the big one happened. And as soon as we could, we had more than 24, 25 World Center Kitchen team members in place already. And, you know, we are doing what we do, which is feeding and providing water as soon as we can to everybody that we can reach to.

CABRERA: And that makes such a difference. You've responded to so many natural disasters. How does this one compare?

ANDRES: This one is very strange in the sense that you have multiple small islands. Luckily for the Bahamas, the capital and the main island, both safe, and this allowed the government to be very active from day one compared to Puerto Rico that very much everything stopped for a few days.


ANDRES: But these two islands, no, they've been really destroyed, especially Grand Abaco. Marsh Harbour, where we've been distributing food all over, hospitals, community centers, all over the place, in certain parts of that town, that they've been decimated in ways that I don't see since Mexico Beach down in Panama City in Florida.

But what happens is, many parts, it's like -- it's no town. Today, I was in a Haitian village, and I landed -- I was with a helicopter. We were the second people only to ride there.


ANDRES: First was the U.S. Coast Guard that -- by the way, we should be so proud of the U.S. Coast Guard. And we were -- three days later, we arrived. We provided food. We're going to go back tomorrow.

They have no homes left. These people just are sleeping in the open and waiting for somebody to provide some relief.

CABRERA: Wow. It's really hard for me to wrap my head around, really, what people are going through. I know you delivered fruit and sandwiches to Elbow Cay and Green Turtle Cay, and these are barrier islands off mainland Great Abaco, which was so horrifically impacted. How are people there doing? And tell us about the people you've met.


ANDRES: Well, listen, the stories are nonstop. We find people that are real heroes of the community. We have people that tell us, can you send a message to my mother because -- tell her that I cannot leave this island, tell her I'm OK, but that I have to help my people.

So you have many, many Bahamians that -- they are like that. They are putting themselves at the service of others. So the stories are multiple. It's places that everybody's living, and then it's other places like

Green Turtle Cay that almost everybody's there. It's a community of 550 people. A few people left, but many others -- I was there just two hours ago -- they are organizing themselves to start reconstruction.

I cannot say the same of every single cay, of every single island, of every single village. In the main -- Marsh Harbour, in the main Grand Abaco island, I can tell you that some parts look like a ghost town.

Everybody is trying to leave anywhere they can by boat, by plane, by helicopter, and that island is going to get very, very empty. And the shelters here in Nassau, they are getting full by the day.

CABRERA: What do the next few days and weeks now look like for your team on the ground?

ANDRES: For us, it's going to be -- again, that's what we do. Some NGOs, I think, they are in phase one still. We are already in phase two, and phase two is adapting to the needs of the Bahamas.

You know, we are receiving good intelligence from the Bahamian government. We know, already, they are doing the shelters. Today, we are doing many of the shelters. They are already opening. We are going to some orphanages here in Nassau that they have a lot of -- a lot of children.

And the death count is probably going to be bigger than what even the official numbers say. There's a lot of rescue teams that, still, they need to move in in a lot of areas as we speak.

So for us, it's going to be helping the government of Bahamas, but mainly the Bahamian people, to make sure the shelters are taken care of for the next two weeks and make sure that the people are remaining in Grand Abaco and Grand Bahamas. That those areas and little towns that are forgotten or incommunicado, that we keep bringing them food and water and other things they need for the next two or three weeks.


ANDRES: That's going to be our phase two.

CABRERA: Wow. Chef Jose Andres, keep up the good work, my friend. I just have such a -- you have such a big heart.

And it really touches my heart, the work that you do, the passion you put in, and just what all of you and your team are going through to, to try to help those people in need there. Your generosity is incredible.

Thank you so much for sharing with us what's going on there on the ground.

ANDRES: Thank you. Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: And if you want to find out how can help the victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas and here in the U.S., just head to We'll be right back.


[19:31:25] CABRERA: Here's a question for you. Can you curse your way to a voter's heart? Swearing is certainly something we have heard from presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke even though at one point he actually swore off swearing. That didn't exactly happen, though.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there anything in your mind that the president can do now to make this any better?

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What do you think? You know the (bleep) he has been saying. Members of the press, what the (bleep)?

We are averaging about 300 mass shootings a year. No other country comes close. So, yes, this is (bleep) up.


CABRERA: Just this week, "Politico" ran this story: can the f-bomb save Beto, weighing the pros and cons of his use of profanity. But O'Rourke is hardly the only candidate to let loose in that manner. In fact, we are hearing foul language more and more from a number of 2020 contenders.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans need to quite frankly get their (bleep) together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have been laughing their (bleep) off for the last couple of years.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wonder why the (bleep) he's doing that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is (bleep).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is his (bleep) politics.


CABRERA: OK. So shall we discuss? CNN Political Commentator and former Clinton White House Press Secretary, Joe Lockhart and CNN Political Analyst, Sarah Isgur are with us. She was an advisor to Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney.

Joe, does swearing typically make a presidential candidate seem more authentic, more passionate maybe, or does it seem contrived?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think if it comes off as authentic, it helps you break out of the pack. And I think for Beto in particular, who was having trouble getting traction and is still in the lower tier of the candidates, this was something that hit close to home, and it was authentic when it came out.

I'm not sure he will continue doing this. But we have had a general coarsening of our politics. Remember, the president has said a number of things on camera that are on par with what Beto said. So, you know, I think if you need to say, hey, everyone, pay attention to me, you know, short of lighting your hair on fire, using profanity is one way, and I think it's worked for him.

CABRERA: It gets your attention, no doubt.

Sarah, by "The Washington Post's" count, President Trump has cursed at least 87 times in public. Do you think, you know, some of these democratic candidates are trying to show they can compete in a way in this new political age?

SARAH ISGUR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I agree with Joe when it comes to Beto's campaign. But I also think that for Beto and the way he is using it, it's a generational signal as well. I do think it distinguishes him from a Joe Biden, a Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren who are all from a generation where cursing in public would have been seen as more gauche (ph). For Beto and my generation it's seen as the way you talk to people more often.

I do think he risks overusing it. You know, in the clip compilation that you put together, it does seems a little more ham handed. It comes off less natural that way. So I think sparingly, it does worth to give that message but it will not launch him into the upper tier. It at best gets you that notice and you have got to make something more of it.

CABRERA: Let's move on to another topic because the White House put out a two-minute video this week called "the summer of winning" and they highlight meetings with foreign leaders, the President attending the G7, visiting El Paso and Dayton after mass shootings, Joe because you have been at the helm of the press operation at the White House. I wonder is this type of video typical at the end of the summer or from time to time?

[19:35:04] LOCKHART: Well, I mean, in one sense it's an indication of trying too hard, knowing that it was a bit of a lost summer. It was a reaction to a really good "Washington Post" story that talked about internally in the White House, how they seemed lost.

It is also a reflection of the times where with the growth of the internet, with twitter, with social media, you can talk directly to your supporters. You don't need CNN. You don't need "The New York Times." So I don't think anyone should be surprised that they are doing this. They have been doing this all along. But it is -- it comes from a defensive position because, you know, by any objective measure, the president had a very rough summer.

CABRERA: I have to wonder, Sarah, are what they call accomplishments really something to brag about, i.e., visiting El Paso after the shooting where he talked about crowd size, and he gave a big thumbs up in a photo with that baby whose parents were killed. ISGUR: Agreed. I mean you have to put together what you can for

these accomplishment lists. There's nothing new. Joe and I are very practiced, I'm sure, at putting together talking points around these sorts of things whenever you need to. What I think that the President is most afraid of right now is an economic recession driven by a lack of confidence in the country.

And so I think, yes, absolutely Joe is right. This was a reaction specifically to that "Washington Post" piece. But I think in a larger sense, the president, his White House aides have got to be concerned of a creeping sense of recession, of fear slipping into the electorate come this fall, and so they are doing everything they can to say, things are great. We could almost release the balloons now. And so this video -- and you have seen other things like it where he is trying to build up that confidence.

CABRERA: Let's look ahead to this week's democratic debate. We may be getting a preview of how the other candidates plan to take on the front-runner, Joe Biden. Let's listen to a few of them make this jab.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every single time we have tried to play it safe with the most established and, let's say, Washington tenured figures, every single time we've come up short.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: People are scared, but we can't choose a candidate we don't believe in because we're scared.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can't make the mistake that says, oh, we got to play it safe. This election is just about finding somebody who can beat Donald Trump.


CABRERA: Joe, don't play it safe. How do you judge that message?

LOCKHART: Well, if you are not the front-runner, it's a great message for you because you are not the front-runner. You're trailing in the polls. I think all of these candidates, though, are on to an important theme, which is the Democratic electorate is focused almost completely on defeating Donald Trump, and a big part of Biden's pitch is, I can beat Donald Trump.

So I think the -- you know, everybody else in the field has to be able to, you know, puncture that a little bit and say, we need to do more than that. We need to have a progressive agenda or we need to do whatever the candidates are saying. But it's not surprising that, you know, the non-front-runners are attacking the front-runners. That's politics 101.

CABRERA: I want to show you guys this video. It's kind of fun. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang crowd surfing with his supporters.

(VIDEOCLIP PLAYING) CABRERA: There you have it. Boy, politics these days have changed, haven't they? It certainly seems like he is going to be bringing some energy Thursday night, Sarah.

ISGUR: Crowd surfing in the debate would actually -- I mean you talk about getting noticed. I think that would beat out cursing. But I don't know how that would go on camera. It might be difficult for them to capture that in Houston.

I think that what they have got to accomplish on Thursday, if you are in that bottom tier as Joe mentioned earlier, you have got to tick away at Joe Biden's number one number that I would be afraid of if I were a senior staffer for those campaigns. Who is most likely to beat Donald Trump?

Forty-five percent of the democrat and democrat-leaning voters in the last poll said Joe Biden. Forty-five percent, that's far above even the number that are currently voter for him. If you can bring that number down from the debate, from what you say there, then I think you do have a chance of overtaking him as the front-runner.

But as long as the voters believe that is their only chance, their best chance of beating Donald Trump, I think that's going to be a very hard thing to convince them. The play it safe message isn't going to do it alone.

CABRERA: All right, Sarah Isgur, Joe Lockhart, great to have both of you with us. Thanks for that analysis.

ISGUR: Thank you.

CABRERA: Coming up, racing extinction. CNN explores the plummeting cheetah population and how it is for the ultra rich to buy these wild creatures as pets online.


[19:43:39] CABRERA: We are back with a stunning CNN report on the plummeting cheetah population. A big driver is wealthy buyers, especially in the Arabian peninsula, who want the wild animals as pets to show off on social media.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh went to the main thoroughfare of the trafficking in Somaliland and finds out just how easy it is to buy a cheetah online.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barely a couple of weeks old, this animal is clearly in desperate need of his mother. But this orphan cheetah is one of the lucky ones, rescued from the illegal wildlife trade.

Across the horn of Africa, if the mothers aren't killed, the cubs are snatched from them, smuggled in cramped crates and cardboard boxes. By the time they get to this shelter, they are barely alive. According to the cheetah conservation fund, some 300 cubs are smuggled

out of this region every year. And for every one that makes it into captivity, another three die on the way.

That valley down there is becoming known as the cheetah supermarket. That's because many of the trafficked cheetahs are being smuggled across this porous border with Ethiopia into Somaliland.

This breakaway state from Somalia is the main transit route for the trafficked cats out of the horn of Africa. Smuggled across the gulf of Adan to the Arabian peninsula.

The survivors of the rough journey become an exotic accessory like designer bling as rich gulf Arabs compete for social media clicks.

At least a thousand cheetahs are estimated to be in private hands in gulf states. According to experts, most die within a year or two of captivity. Although private ownership and trading of wildlife is banned in most gulf states, enforcement is lax.

Illegal online sales are starting to be policed, but if you really want a cheetah, they are not hard to find.

This is an online Saudi marketplace. And when we search for cheetahs, several listings came up, some advertising 2-year-old to 3-year-old cheetahs, others selling young cubs. This man in Saudi Arabia is eager to sell.

[19:46:11] UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text): whatever kind of cheetah you want. You want male, you want female, it is not an issue. From Africa. We input through a website with a guy and we have another Saudi trader. I got more than 80 from them.

KARADSHEH: $6,600 U.S. seems to be the starting online price in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government did not respond to CNN's repeated requests for comment. There are only 7,500 cheetahs left worldwide, half the number from just a decade ago.

LAURA MARKER, CONGREGATION BIOLOGIST, CHEETAH CONSERVATION FUND: People who have a cheetah as a pet are causing the species to go extinct. It's leading the way towards extinction. Mr. Bottle is one of the favorite toys that we found.

KARADSHEH: American biologist Laurie Marker and her cheetah conservation fund are racing to save the species from extinction.

MARKER: This is not how a baby cheetah should be living. They need to be living out in the wild.

KARADSHEH: They have set up this safehouse in Somaliland for the rescues. It's bursting at the seams.

MARKER: Seeing them in here, it breaks my heart.

KARADSHEH: You can see why people call them cats that cry.

MARKER: It's our responsibility to give them the very best care that they can have and to try to save every single one of them.

KARADSHEH: 10-month-old kitty is in intensive care, the last survivor of three sisters.

MARKER: She is not one of our healthiest cats and it probably does have a lot to do with where she started in life.

KARADSHEH: Despite the team's efforts, kitty didn't make it.

MARKER: These animals are a smaller population, a very rare population, and from that each one of them do carry a different genetic code. This one is a male.

KARADSHEH: Every cub gets microchipped. Their DNA is recorded. Without a mother, they have to be taught how to hunt and survive in the wild.

MARKER: It takes sometimes months to try to get one cheetah to get on its feet.

KARADSHEH: Neju Jimmy, a soon to be vet is their main caregiver.

NEJU JIMMY, CHEETAH CAREGIVER FUND: I love them so much. I don't even see my mom once a week. She lives over there.

KARADSHEH: According to Marker, there are only about 300 adults in unprotected areas in the horn of Africa.

MARKER: If you do your math, the math kind of shows that it's only going to be a matter of a couple years that we are not going to have any cheetahs in this region left.

KARADSHEH: Many have already been lost to conflict with humans.

Somaliland wildlife authorities are busting traffickers. It's illegal here along with private ownership. But in the capital, (INAUDIBLE), a popular restaurant advertises burgers and captive lions pacing in the background for selfies. For three years, this cheetah on a short rope has been the star attraction for paying clients to pet, poke, and pose with. The owner insists it's legal.

ABDIRASHIQ ALI MOHAMED, LION RESTAURANT OWNER: We have a license to keep this animal, and plus this guy, there's only one cheetah here, and he has a lot of space to run around.

KARADSHEH: Why it was tolerated in plain sight went unanswered by the authorities.

More are hidden behind walls. Even as we are leaving Somaliland, two more cheetahs have been confiscated from a house here in (INAUDIBLE). Three more were seized just a few days later. Days later.

As long as there's a demand by the rich, creating a lucrative trade for the poor, the cheetahs' future hangs in the balance. Time is not on their side.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, (INAUDIBLE), Somaliland.


CABRERA: Hold the phone. An amusement park hero makes the catch of a lifetime while soaring 80 miles per hour on a roller coaster.


[19:53:48] CABRERA: Listen to this. A man on a roller coaster making an incredible catch and saving a stranger's cell phone. This is from an amusement park in Catalonia, Spain. An unlucky rider dropped his iPhone during the roller coaster ride. Did you see that? That man from New Zealand made the spectacular one-handed grab and the hero says the grateful cell phone owner bought him the footage from that ride as a thank you.

The University of Tennessee is adopting a new t-shirt design after seeing a logo from a boy who was bullied and laughed at over this homemade t-shirt. The Florida boy wanted to represent the volunteers during his school's college colors days, but he didn't actually own any authentic gear, so he made this homemade sign and proudly attached it to his t-shirt.

His teacher says some girls made fun of that homemade design and the boy was devastated. The teacher's Facebook posts on this incident went viral and it wasn't long before the university sent the boy a care package full of volunteer swag. An added bonus, the school is now adopting the boy's homemade UT design for one of its official t- shirts. Demand for it was so high on Saturday, it actually crashed the university's online store.

President Trump is already the most powerful man in the world, but now we have learned he can even rewrite history with the swipe of a sharpie.

CNN's Jake Tapper has this week's "State of the Cartoonian."


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This week, President Trump held up a weather map with a extra line drawn in with a sharpie to back up his erroneous claim that on Sunday Alabama was in the path of hurricane Dorian.


TAPPER: It led us to wonder what else the President might use to a sharpie to fix. He could altar the border of Dublin, Ireland, so that vice president Pence's stay 181 miles away at a Trump resort makes any sort of sense beyond lining the boss' pockets.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was pleased to have the opportunity.

TAPPER: He could used this new sharpie reality to fill in the empty spaces during his inauguration.

TRUMP: And I'll tell you what, this is some crowd. Some turnout.

TAPPER: The sharpie reality reminds us of the classic children's book, "Harold and the purple crayon." the protagonist creating his own reality with his chosen writing except it's Donald and the black sharpie changing the reality of the border fence.

TRUMP: The wall is being built. It is building up rapidly.

TAPPER: Or when the economy started recovering. Or whether or not first lady Melania Trump had ever actually met Kim Jong-un.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has been my honor.

TAPPER: Then again, maybe we are reading too much into it, as Ida on twitter points out. This is a president who has tried to make other scandals disappear with the stroke of his sharpie.