Somaliland starts work on 800ha cheetah sanctuary

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A Namibian wildlife organisation has broken ground in Somaliland on a rescue centre for cheetahs.

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

When complete, the 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 for public tours, it will also provide Somaliland with a tourist destination.

Laurie Marker, the founder of the CCF, said the centre would answer the problem of what to do with cubs rescued from pet smugglers.

“When disrupting illegal wildlife trade in cheetah cubs, one of the problems conservationists must address is how to manage confiscated animals,” she said.

“The CRCC has been designed to meet the needs of this unique population. It will be the first facility of its kind in the Horn of Africa, the region where most cheetah confiscation events occur. The Ministry in Somaliland has been CCF’s best partner in addressing the illegal trade in cheetahs, and the development of the CRCC is a testament to the progress we are making”.

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

Once complete, the CRCC will include education and vocational training facilities that will benefit students, teachers, pastoralists, wildlife caregivers, eco-rangers, and local CRCC staff.

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