Somaliland delegation observes links between conservation and tourism
A high-ranking government delegation from Somaliland is visiting Namibia this week as the guests of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) to learn about the enormous potential of conservation when done in partnership with landowners.
The group of six includes Somaliland’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Hon Shukri Ismail, the Minister of Trade and Tourism, Hon Mohamoud Hassan Saad, the Minister of Parliament, Hon Mubarak Musa Ismail, the Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, Production and Energy at Somaliland’s House of Representatives; the Head of Mission to the United States, Bashir Goth; and the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Senior Advisor to Parliament, Ms Fatima Saeed. This is their first visit to Namibia.
Conservation in Somaliland is hampered by the fact that the territory is not recognised as an independent country but it has a functional government and operates as a separate political entity from Somalia under the banner, the Republic of Somaliland.
The visiting delegation will explore the link between rural development, tourism and cheetah conservation. In this regard, it is guided by the Cheetah Conservation Fund which is based near Otjiwarongo in Namibia but with a very strong operational and institutional presence in Somaliland. For instance, the fund’s operations in Somaliland are so successful that there are now more than 80 young cheetahs in their care at three foster facilities.
Together with the Executive Director of the Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management Support Organizations (NACSO), Maxi Pia Louis, the CCF’s founder and Executive Director, Dr Laurie Marker is taking the delegation on a tour of central Namibia. The goal of the tour is to transfer institutional knowledge and experience about Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), eco-tourism, and the development of concessions around protected areas.
“The knowledge transfer between Namibia and Somaliland will assist the Somaliland government in developing their own model to meet the needs of nomadic pastoral communities while mitigating threats to wild species at their new CCF facility,” said Dr Marker.
In December 2021, the CCF and Somaliland sponsoring partner, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change began construction of the CCF Cheetah Rescue and Conservation Centre at Geed-Deeble (“Land of Trees”) to provide a permanent home for the animals.
The centre is built on 50,000 ha that the Somaliland government has set aside to become its first national park. When complete, the centre will provide a permanent home for the rescued cubs. Phase one of the complex is expected to be finished this year so that the cubs can be moved early next year.
Dr Laurie Marker of the Cheetah Conservation Fund hands the shovel to Somaliland’s Head of Mission to the USA, Bashir Goth, during the ground-breaking ceremony of the CCF Cheetah Rescue and Conservation Centre on 16 December 2021. In the right front, with white hardhat, is the Somaliland Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Hon Shukri H. Ismail. (Photograph courtesy of Cheetah Conservation Fund)