As the MoERD and International Experts brainstorm the Sanctuary for Wildlife in Illegal Trade in Hargeisa -press statement
Somalilandsun – A group of international wildlife experts visited Somaliland last week week to participate in a three-day workshop to draft a plan for developing a wildlife sanctuary for animals confiscated from illegal trade. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development (MoERD), sponsored by the Murulle Foundation, and organized by Colorado State University’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL).
During the opening of the workshop, remarks were made by the Minister of Environment and Rural Development, the Honorable Shukri Haji Ismail Mohamoud, the Honorable Chief Justice Adan H. Ali Ahmed, and Deputy Police Commissioner General Adirahman Leeban.
Opening remarks were followed by a presentation by Patricia Tricorache, from the Cheetah Conservation Fund, who provided information regarding illegal wildlife trade in Somaliland. This included information from a 2014 study commissioned by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species(CITES) that identified Somaliland as a primary route for cheetahs smuggled out of Africa into the Arabian Peninsula. Some research indicates that approximately 100 cheetah cubs are illegally shipped across the Gulf of Aden every year to satisfy the high demand for exotic pets; however, other researchers believe this number could be as high as 300 cheetahs per year. The mortality rate for trafficked cheetah cubs, including those recovered by law enforcement authorities, is very high; establishing a sanctuary in Somaliland would be an important step in saving and protecting these threatened animals. In addition to cheetahs, a sanctuary would benefit other illegally trafficked species in Somaliland including gazelles, antelopes, birds of prey, and reptiles.
Workshop participants included representatives from Somaliland NGOs such as PENHA and the HSPCA, as well as experts from Brazen Wildlife Services, the Candlelight Foundation, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), DECAN Association, GIZ’s Sustainable Land Management Programme, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and the Somaliland Bio-Diversity Foundation (SBF). The workshop was facilitated by Dr David Mallon, Co-Chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s SSC Antelope Specialist Group (ASG).
For nearly 10 years, the MoERD has been working with NREL, CCF, DECAN and various independent collaborators to fight-wildlife trafficking. In April 2017, IFAW, SBF and IUCN joined the effort, and together developed a set of strategies aimed at educating the public about the illegality of removing wildlife and building capacity of enforcement personnel, as well ascreating a sanctuary for rescued and confiscated animals. The sanctuary would initially provide an appropriate space for ungulates (gazelles, antelopes) and then expand to cheetahs and other species.
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About Participating Institutions:
Brazen Wildlife Services, based in South Africa, is a company dedicated to providing wildlife management, transportation and veterinary services. Facebook: brazenwildlife.
Based in Hargeisa, the Candlelight Foundation is a non-governmental organization founded in 1995. The Foundation strives to bring about positive changes in communities through environmental conservation, provision of quality education, creation of awareness raising on health issue, and humanitarian response during droughts and outbreaks. Web site: http://www.candlelightsomal.org.
Founded in 1990, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the long-term survival of the cheetah through research, education and conservation programs. From its field research base in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, CCF gathers and shares critical information on the species and uses it to formulate strategies to combat the species’ main threats, human-carnivore conflict, habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade. Web site:www.cheetah.org, Twitter and Facebook: @CCFCheetah.
Established in 1967, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL) at Colorado State University is an interdisciplinary ecology research and teaching unit. The NREL’s mission is to improve understanding of the complex interactions between ecosystems, humans, and management activities. Web site:http://www.nrel.colostate.edu.
DECAN is a not-for-profit environmental association founded in Djibouti in 2001. In addition to hosting a sanctuary for rescued wildlife, the association’s programs include youth education, enforcement training, research into flora and fauna, and dissemination of educational materials. Web site: http://decandjibouti.org.
The GIZ Land Management Programme supports government activities to promote sustainable land management by providing advice and training to improve the knowledge and skills of its partners, so that they in turn can teach sustainable land management methods more effectively and promote their wider use by the farmers themselves. GIZ is a federal enterprise supporting the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Founded in 1969, the US-based International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. Web site: www.ifaw.org. Twitter: @action4ifaw. Facebook: IFAW.
The SSC Antelope Specialist Group (ASG) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s leading body of scientific and practical expertise on the status and conservation of all antelope species. It is a global network of specialists concerned with the conservation, monitoring, management, and study of antelopes. The overall aim of ASG is to promote the long-term conservation of antelopes and their habitats worldwide, and the recovery or restoration of antelope species, populations and communities where feasible. Web site: https://www.iucn.org/ssc-groups/mammals/antelope-specialist-group.
Somaliland Bio-Diversity Foundation (SBF) was established to develop a biodiversity program within Somaliland that will enable the country’s citizens to acquire the education and experience needed to study, document, and build understanding about the country’s diversity and its use by local people. As an integral part of this mission, the Foundation stresses extending awareness of the benefits of maintaining ecosystem biodiversity to all segments of society. Web site: http://www.somalilandbiodiversity.org .
About the Sponsor:
The Murulle Foundation is a not-for-profit organizationfounded in 2000. Its mission is to build an enduring co-existence of people and threatened eco-systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Foundation fosters participatory grassroots projects based on human and organizational development and scientific research to promote social, economic, and environmental well-being. Web site: http://www.murulle.org.
This press statement was availed courtesy of: Patricia Tricorache, Cheetah Conservation Fund.
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