Somaliland – 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 Fund said this week 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 sometime later. The eighth cub, visibly older than the rest, were rescued from a village where it was kept for several months.
Somaliland is an independent country, having withdrawn from failed union with Somalia in 1991. Its territory is used by smugglers to take cheetah cubs caught in neighboring 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 transmitting through Somaliland and recovering the cubs, we send a clear message to people who think to try this illegal activity: Don’t!” he warned.
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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.”
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.
Meet the woman fighting to save endangered cheetahs from extinction
Before the pandemic, TODAY senior international correspondent Keir Simmons traveled to Somaliland in the Horn of Africa to meet Laurie Marker, who has dedicated her life to saving the world’s fastest animal, the cheetah, from extinction. Her motto: “Save the cheetah, change the world.”