Somaliland: CCF, Minster Shukri Bandare and MP Zac Goldsmith Discuss Wildlife Conservation At UKs House of Commons

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Left to right: Min. Shukri, Dr Laurie Marker (Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Executive Director), DR Edna and Patricia Tricorache (Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Asst. Director, Illegal Wildlife Trade).

Somalilandsun- on 3rd December 2018 the British House of Commons hosted an event dubbed, “Somaliland Beyond Drought: Saving Wildlife and Protecting the Environment” was held at the House of Commons, 3rd December 2018.

This is according to a press statement released by the event organizers Cheetah Conservation below verbatim

Quote- THE CHEETAH CONSERVATION FUND DISCUSSES ILLEGAL CHEETAH TRADE ISSUES AT ‘AN EVENING WITH SOMALILAND’S MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT’ AT THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

As part of their work to combat illegal wildlife trade in the Horn of Africa, Dr. Laurie Marker, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) Founder and Executive Director, and Patricia Tricorache, CCF’s Assistant Director of Illegal Wildlife Trade, took part in a panel discussion at ‘An Evening with Somaliland’s Minister for Environment and Rural Development, HE Shukri Haji Ismail Bandare’, hosted by Zac Goldsmith MP and Somaliland’s Mission to the UK and the Commonwealth. The event, “Somaliland Beyond Drought: Saving Wildlife and Protecting the Environmentwas held at the House of Commons, 3rd December 2018.

Following the recent Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London, the event was an opportunity to highlight the incredible efforts of Somaliland’s Government in combating wildlife trafficking and saving the environment.

During her opening speech, Minister Shukri described the effects of a cyclic recurrence of natural disasters, such as droughts and cyclones, which has left many internally displaced people in Somaliland. Compounded to this, Somaliland has seen a significant increase in the illegal taking of wildlife for the pet trade in the Gulf during the last 10 years. Despite all odds, including lack of international recognition as an independent nation, Somaliland has been at the forefront of tackling these issues with a particular focus on putting an end to the illegal wildlife trade by taking a strong stance in prosecuting those involved. Because of the achievements of this small country that he described as a “beacon of hope” in Africa, Goldsmith has taken an interest in exploring measures that can improve the situation for the country.

CCF began fighting the illegal cheetah trade in 2005 and has compiled cases of trafficking of cheetah or cheetah products through research and direct reports. It works closely with law enforcement, government and NGOs in Somaliland and internationally to promote efforts that will lead to the confiscation of trafficked cheetahs and the prosecution of poachers.

Dr. Laurie Marker, CCF Founder and Executive Director, said: Few people realise that most animals stolen from the wild to be sold as pets are at best, a loss for conservation; at worst, likely to die. In addition, wildlife trafficking robs communities of their resources and welfare, since illicit activities breed unsafety, which in turn affects a community’s ability to engage in activities such as eco-tourism. This event allowed us to raise awareness about these issues and share information about current efforts and plans to continue fighting illegal wildlife trade alongside the Somaliland government and the affected communities.”

Patricia Tricorache, CCF’s Assistant Director of Illegal Wildlife Trade, said: “We have worked with Minister Shukri and a group of NGOs and academic institutions to develop strategies aimed at improving enforcement, build capacity for veterinary services for wildlife and educate the public on the legal and human aspects of wildlife trafficking. CCF also has a Somaliland-based team currently caring for 12 cheetahs confiscated during the last two years, among other species. Importantly, most of these animals are destined to spend the rest of their lives in captivity as they were taken from the wild at such young ages that they lack the skills to survive on their own. It was great to see organisations such as the UK-based Aspinall Foundation, which recently visited our cheetah safe house, begin to take an interest in Somaliland.”

There are less than 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild. Since 2005. CCF has recorded nearly 700 cheetahs and cubs taken from the wild and smuggled through the Horn of Africa, mostly through Somaliland, to the Middle East for the illegal pet trade. Less than 20% of these are known to have survived. Most smuggling goes undetected, however, so actual numbers are believed to be much higher.

It’s crucial to continue CCF’s important collaboration with Somaliland and other cheetah-range countries and countries used as smuggling routes, as well as those where demand for pet cheetahs is high, in order to identify and address the issues that give rise to illegal cheetah trafficking, and protect an entire species.