Illegal Pet Trade

Cheetah Conservation Fund Holds First Training Workshop for Somaliland Veterinarians

  • by CCF Staff February 18, 2021
Cheetah Conservation Fund Holds First Training Workshop  for Somaliland Veterinarians
Dr Laurie Marker (front row second from the right) Dr. Karina Flores Pineda (front row center) and Dr Mahesh Bhatt (front row left) pose with CCF's veterinary training participants and their certificates of completion. Photo courtesy Cheetah Conservation Fund

HARGEISA, Somaliland – 18 February 2021 — Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) conducted its first workshop for veterinary doctors at its facilities in Hargeisa 12-15 February. The purpose of the trainings is to prepare these doctors, most of whom are livestock veterinarians, to give emergency treatment to cheetah cubs. The veterinarians represented the regions of Somaliland where the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development (MOERD), CCF’s government partner, has either confiscated cubs caught up in illegal wildlife trade or rescued cubs from conflict situations with farmers.

“Cheetah cubs brought in by the MoERD-CCF Rescue Team are brought to CCF’s temporary shelters where they receive proper veterinary care and nutrition. Most arrive in very poor condition due to mistreatment or neglect. We hope to work in cooperation with local veterinarians to respond to these situations, with the goal of reducing mortality for these cubs”, said Dr Laurie Marker, CCF’s Founder and Executive Director.

The CCF training consists of both lectures and hands-on practical sessions covering physical examination and handling basics, emergency care principles, syndromes of disease when re-feeding a malnourished animal, dietary insufficiencies, approach to gastrointestinal maladies and preventative care. The veterinarians were taught about Somaliland’s laws forbidding poaching and trade, the importance of keeping cheetahs in the wild, and the need to promote conservation of wildlife on the community level.

CCF is planning a second training session 19-22 February with eight veterinary doctors from the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia. The goal of the two trainings is to develop a network of veterinarians trained in cheetah care on both sides of the Ethiopia-Somaliland border in areas where illegal trade and conflict are known to occur.

The training was led by Dr Marker and supported by CCF Somaliland veterinarians Dr Karina Flores Pineda, Dr Mahesh Bhatt, Dr Asma Bileh and Dr Ahmed Yusuuf. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) provided co-funding for the training, which was organised within the framework of the Legal Intelligence/Cheetah Illicit Trade (LICIT) Project, an initiative to combat cheetah trafficking. LICIT is funded by the UK government through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund and implemented by CCF, IFAW, and Legal Atlas.

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Dr Asma Bile and Dr Ahmed Yusuuf, two local Somaliland veterinarians. Photo by Dr Mahesh Bhatt/Cheetah Conservation Fund
Dr Karina Flores Pineda teaching the veterinarians. Photo by Dr Laurie Marker/Cheetah Conservation Fund
Veterinarian trainee Farduus Farah Suleiman attended the training representing the Togdheer region. She is a veterinarian who works as an animal inspector in the Somaliland livestock industry, which is based in Burao, the capital of Togdheer. Photo by Dr Mahesh Bhatt/Cheetah Conservation Fund

Cheetah Conservation Fund
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Founded in 1990, CCF is an international non-profit organisation headquartered in Namibia. CCF marked its 30th anniversary in 2020, making it the longest running and most successful conservation organisation for cheetahs. For more information, please visit

International Fund for Animal Welfare
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at

MEDIA CONTACT: Susan Yannetti, or +12027167756

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