It is estimated that every year more than 300 young cheetahs are illegally snatched from Ethiopia, northern Kenya, Somalia and Somaliland.
Illegal wildlife trafficking is an ever-increasing problem for the conservation of species in the wild, and the trafficking of cheetahs is no exception. It is estimated that every year more than 300 young cheetahs are illegally snatched from Ethiopia, northern Kenya, Somalia and Somaliland, then smuggled out of Somaliland to be sent across the Gulf of Aden to the Arabian Peninsula where they are bought and sold in illegal online sales to the wealthy.
Most of these cubs are pulled from their mothers prematurely and kept in poor conditions with inadequate food and water. Less than 25% of these captured cheetah survive to the buyers. And those that do survive are often in poor health, with fractured bones, infections and malnutrition.
Of those that are sold, the average lifespan is only 5 years of age, and most die due to causes related to stress and malnutrition. With less than 7,500 cheetahs surviving in the wild, compiled with the low reproductive rates of wild cheetahs, these numbers are unsustainable. Experts estimate that, than in less than 10 years, the cheetah could be extinct in Northern Africa.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund centre (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. Rescued cubs were initially sent out to sanctuaries in Ethiopia and Djibouti. After the laws changed in Somaliland, a cheetah sanctuary was started in the capital city of Hargeisa in 2017. Currently there are more than 45 cheetah cubs at the cheetah safe house, with more than 30 of those arriving in 2019.
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