Somalilandsun: At least four leopard cubs per month are victims of illegal trade outside Ethiopia while many more die in the process.
The poached leopard cubs are first brought to Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, and then to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates through Yemen,
This is according to The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority WCA whose director Daniel Pawlos reveals that local citizens of his country are drawn to this practice for insured earnings.
In fact, a leopard cub ranges from 10,000 to 15,000 Ethiopian birr, that is, from 310 to 466 dollars. Ansa quoted Pawlos.
The WCA director added that the puppies were sold in the black market for over $ 10,000 to wealthy people who want them as exotic pets and status symbols. “An Ethiopian was arrested in Somaliland last August for illegal trafficking of a lion cub. We managed to bring the cub back to Ethiopia to our rescue center,” said Pawlos.
Though it is a transit point for the poached Ethiopian leopard cubs Somaliland is also itself a victim of poaching mostly of cheetahs that are smuggled to the same Gulf countries
Currently the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) staff in Hargeisa Somaliland are caring for six cubs from a seizure of 12 intercepted in waters off the Somaliland coast.
The Namibian-based CCF which started assisting the Somaliland ministry of environment and rural development (MoERD) in 2011 currently has 34 cheetah cubs including the six new arrivals in several cheetah safe houses it has been operating since 2017, providing cubs recovered from the illegal wildlife trade with ongoing food, medication, and care
Poached cubs originated mostly from Ethiopia, northern Kenya, Somalia, and Somaliland, and are smuggled off the African continent from beaches along the Gulf of Aden, destined for the Arabian Peninsula, mostly entering through Yemen. The demand for cubs was driven by the illegal pet trade, which was driven primarily by countries in the Middle East, where cheetahs had been traditionally considered a status symbol pet,
The Somaliland government ratified five international and regional conservation agreements including the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in 2018.
In pursuit of enforcing relevant laws related to poaching and illegal trade in wildlife, a court in Hargeisa the capital of Somaliland made its first conviction, of persons caught in possession of Cheetah cubs,