Protecting Cheetahs in the Horn of Africa
Since June 2019, CCF, in partnership with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Legal Atlas, have been working with wildlife authorities in Ethiopia, Somalia, Somaliland, and Yemen to end trafficking in live cheetah cubs taken from the wild in the Horn of Africa and smuggled to the Middle East to be sold as exotic pets. Most of the taken cubs do not survive, and this illegal trade poses a significant threat to the wild cheetah population in east Africa.
CCF coordinates the project, called Legal Intelligence for Cheetah Illicit Trade (LICIT), which is funded by the UK government through its Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund.
The LICIT Project has three principal areas of focus:
All of the following activities will be brought together by establishing national anti-wildlife trafficking networks linking government agencies, civil society organizations, and communities.
LICIT Project accomplishments to date include:
- Delivery of thoroughly researched analyses of the four countries’ wildlife laws, together with recommendations for strengthening these laws and regulations;
- Training of 20 local veterinarians from Ethiopia and Somaliland at the CCF Safe House in Hargeisa to provide urgent care for cheetah cubs recovered from traffickers, which has increased the survival rate of these young cats; (see featured photo at the top and bottom of this page)
- Awareness-raising visits by Dr. Laurie Marker and other CCF staff to 62 communities in rural areas of Somaliland that are impacted by cheetah trafficking, and;
- Coordination of efforts to create regional and national anti-wildlife trafficking networks, including a first-ever joint meeting of wildlife and law enforcement officials from Ethiopia and Somaliland to establish cross-border cooperation against trafficking.
The LICIT Project dovetails with other CCF actions in the region, including further development of the cheetah Safe House in Hargeisa, species surveys and research, and potential expansion of community conservation programs developed by CCF in Namibia to Ethiopia and Somaliland. The LICIT Project will conclude in March 2022. CCF is seeking further support to continue the work of this important initiative.