Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), together with its partner, the Somaliland Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, late last year broke ground and laid the cornerstone for a new facility, the CCF Somaliland Cheetah Rescue and Conservation Centre last month.
The event marked the official launch of construction, which will take place in several phases unfolding over this year.
When complete, the centre will provide a permanent home for cubs rescued from the illegal pet trade or human-wildlife conflict situations by the ministry and placed in CCF’s care. The new facility will feature vast outdoor enclosures that provide a naturalistic environment for the animals, plus the Centre will have a fully-equipped veterinary clinic and professionally trained staff that will live on-site to provide ongoing, world-class care.
Dr Marker, CCF’s Founder and Executive Director said when disrupting illegal wildlife trade in cheetah cubs for the pet trade, one of the problems conservationists must address is how to manage confiscated animals.
“The centre 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 Centre is a testament to the progress we are making,” Dr Marker added.
The centre is based on CCF’s world-renowned centre in Otjiwarongo and is intended to become a must-see destination in Somaliland.
The new centre is set on more than 800 hectares at Geed-Deeble, a forest reserve about an hour’s drive from Hargeisa. Once complete, in addition to the cheetah sanctuary and clinic, the centre will include education and vocational training facilities that will benefit students, teachers, pastoralists, wildlife caregivers, eco-rangers, and local centre staff.
The centre will be open for public tours, with the purpose of educating Somaliland people and international visitors about the country’s ecosystems and indigenous wildlife.
The CCF and Somaliland’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change have signed a 30-year deal for CCF to develop the CRCC at Geed-Deeble. CCF is building the facility, and for three decades, will operate the Centre while training Somaliland people to work there.
At the end of 30 years, CCF will hand over the facility to the Somaliland government for its people to operate into perpetuity.
Feature Image: Dr Laurie Marker of Cheetah Conservation Fund hands the shovel to Somaliland’s Head of Mission to the USA, Ambassador Bashir Goth, during the ground-breaking ceremony on 16 December 2021.