Somaliland begins work on 800 ha cheetah sanctuary


The sanctuary will provide a permanent home for cubs rescued from the illegal pet trade or human-wildlife conflict situations (Erika Winterlia / CC BY-SA 3.0)

A Namibian wildlife organization has opened a cheetah rescue center in Somaliland.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) works with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change on the CCF Somaliland Cheetah Rescue and Conservation Center (CRCC). Construction will take place in phases over the coming year.

Once completed, CRCC will provide a permanent home for cubs rescued from the illegal pet trade or human-wildlife conflict situations. As the CRCC will be open to public visits, it will also provide Somaliland with a tourist destination.

Laurie Marker, the founder of CCF, said the center will address the issue of what to do with cubs rescued from pet smugglers.

“When disrupting the illegal wildlife trade in cheetahs, one of the issues conservationists need to resolve is how to handle the confiscated animals,” she said.

“The CRCC was designed to meet the needs of this unique population. This will be the first such facility in the Horn of Africa, the region where most cheetah confiscations occur. The Somaliland ministry has been CCF’s best partner in the fight against the illegal trade in cheetahs, and the development of CRCC is a testament to the progress we are making ”.

The design of the center is based on the CCF house in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, aka “The Cheetah Capital of the World”. It will be built in Geed-Deeble, a forest reserve about an hour’s drive from the town of Hargeisa.

When completed, the CRCC will include education and vocational training facilities that will benefit students, teachers, pastors, wildlife wardens, eco-rangers and local CRCC staff.

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