Cheetah conservation gets eastern European support in Somaliland – CCF’s role instrumental
How can a self-governing territory in Africa where wildlife crime is a way of life, be expected to take abandoned and neglected wild animals seriously? To them it is a non-issue.
Intent to help change attitudes, at the same time accomplishing concrete conservation goals, the Namibia-based Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) this week announced it has put together an international partnership between African and eastern European institutions to help the people of Somaliland treat and care for confiscated wildlife.
Somaliland, formerly part of Somalia, is a self-governing territory in the Horn of Africa which declared UDI in 1991. It is a major route for trafficked wildlife from the African interior through the Gulf of Aden to rich Arab households in the Middle East.
The international partnership engineered by the CCF between Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Czech Republic (VSF-cz), USAMV Cluj-Napoca (Romania), the University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno (UVPS, Czech Republic), the University of Hargeisa and Heritage Somaliland, officially started on 01 November 2018.
USAMV and UVPS researchers signed a partnership agreement with the two Somaliland universities in September 2018. Researchers will provide additional tuition for the students of the Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and Human Medicine, The eastern European researchers will also contribute to establish parasitological diagnostic laboratories, and conduct training for teaching and laboratory staff.
“We will initiate a new discipline of wildlife veterinary medicine and species conservation medicine to protect endangered mammals,” said USAMV Vice-Rector for International Relations, Prof. Dr. Andrei Daniel Mihalca. “This will be implemented in collaboration with UVPS and VSF-cz, with which the USAMV has a long history of collaboration.”
This volunteer programme is designed to improve the ability an capacity to treat wild animals, especially those under duress after having been confiscated from smugglers.
“Seeing the need to improve knowledge in these areas, the partners joined forces with CCF based on its decades of experience in caring for rescued cheetahs. The collective knowledge and capabilities of the partner institutions will enable students and volunteers to become immersed in wild animal care,” the foundation stated this week when it announced the Somaliland partnership.
“Somaliland currently lacks wildlife medicine and husbandry specialists as there is a lack of interest in working with wildlife. Currently we only have one caregiver o look after the confiscated animals,” said Dr. Laurie Marker, the CCF’s Executive Director. The caregiver, a 5th year veterinary student, is sponsored by the VSF-cz for specialized training at a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Jordan.
Caption: Nujuum Jimi, CCF cheetah keeper and veterinary student, receives training at Al Ma’wa for Nature and Wildlife in Jordan.