Somaliland: Cheetah Conservation Scores Hat Trick with Rescue of Eight More Cubs

Dr Bile inspects one of the rescued cubs at the Hargeisa based Somaliland cheetah sanctuary

Somalilandsun :Eight more cheetah cubs were rescued by authorities in Somaliland during July and taken to the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s safe house in Hargeisa, bringing the number of adolescent cheetahs in foster care to 41.

The Cheetah Conservation Center (CCF) led by Dr. Laurie Marker, along with the Somaliland government’s Ministry of Environment and Rural Development (MoERD), has been working since 2011 to set up a task force to help rescue confiscated cheetah cubs.

This partnership has ensued with the establishment of a Sanctuary in the capital Hargeisa for  cheetahs mostly cubs rescued from poachers and destined for the market in the Gulf Countries.

Other benefits of this conservation cooperation between CCF and MoERD include successful prosecution of poachers and smugglers, various studies, Local staff training and ongoing plans to establish a national park.

Two cheetah cubs rescued in Borama, Somaliland – 24 July 2020

Revealing about the latest success the Cheetah Conservation Fund said  the cubs were rescued during three separate missions by law enforcement officials of the Somaliland Ministry of Environment and Rural Development, assisted by the Selel Regional Administration and the Somaliland Police Force.

Five of the cubs were found together while two were confiscated some time later. The eighth cub, visibly older than the rest, were rescued from a village where it was kept for several months.

Five cheetah cubs found in a rock culvert in Haridad, Somaliland – 19 July 2020

Somaliland territory is used by smugglers to take cheetah cubs caught in neighbouring Somalia and Ethiopia, and even in Kenya, through the Gulf of Aden to rich Arab clients who view a domestic cheetah as a status symbol.

The Somaliland Minister of Environment and Rural Development, Hon Shukri Ismail said “We are pleased to relay the details of three rescue missions successfully carried out by the Somaliland Ministry of Environment, the Somaliland Police Forces, the Selel Regional Administration, Torrid [Analytics] and the Cheetah Conservation Fund over the past 10 days.”

“By intercepting traffickers transitting through Somaliland and recovering the cubs, we send a clear message to people who think to try this illegal activity: Don’t!” he warned.

The rescue missions were supported by CCF and Torrid. CCF Director, Dr Laurie Marker said “Our team coordinated very well with local authorities and community members to retrieve all eight cubs quickly. This gives them their best chance for survival. With so few cheetahs remaining in the Horn of Africa, each cub’s life is significant.”

MoERD wIldlife officer Abdi Hussein interviews witnesses

The Somaliland Government and its international partners have been working continuously through COVID-19 to disrupt illegal cheetah trade networks.

Although separated from their mother at a critical stage in their development, CCF reports all cubs are eating well and fighting to survive. CCF-trained veterinarian Dr Muse Saed Jama provided professional animal care services in the first rescue mission to Xariirad, while CCF Veterinarian Dr Asma Bile cared for the cubs during the second and third rescue missions.

The rescued Cheetah cubs colour-marked for the journey to safety in Hargeisa

Ministry of Environment and Rural Development, Republic of Somaliland

The MoERD mandate is to conserve, protect and manage national development of natural resources and the environment for the benefit of Somaliland people. MoERD promotes the pastoral sector through sustainable development aimed at the eradication of poverty and improving living standards while ensuring that a protected and conserved environment will be available for future generations

Somaliland environment minister Shukri Bandare and VP Syali consult at the 2nd Hargeisa cheetah Sanctuary launch-archives

Cheetah Conservation Fund

CCF is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Founded in 1990, CCF is an international non-profit organisation headquartered in Namibia. CCF is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, making it the longest running and most successful cheetah conservation organisation.

CCF Director Dr Laurie Markel briefs on Somaliland wildlife conservation at the 2nd Hargeisa cheetah sanctuary launch – archive

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