Two starving cheetah cubs tug and squeak at their string leashes in Somaliland’s white dust. A government vet pushes needles through their fluffy fur to drip-feed them liquids and nutrients. The baby cheetahs, who are just five months old, are severely dehydrated and stunted. They also lack the calcium that their mother’s milk provides. This is why they have difficulty walking. They are still alive.
The cubs were rescued from a nomad in November by the government of Somaliland – which broke away from Somalia in 1991 – in partnership with Torrid Analytics, an environmental group that facilitated Reuters’ access to the rescue. They are now under the care of Cheetah Conservation Fund. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, only 6,700 adult cheetahs remain wild in the world. The population is also declining.
The Middle East is a popular destination for kidnapped cubs, but many people don’t realize the suffering they cause. Dr. Laurie Marker of CCF, the head, stated that four to five cheetah cubs per market mate. Mothers are often killed. She said that CCF received 40 cubs in Somaliland their first year. Many of them didn’t survive. They were able, however, to reduce deaths to almost zero in just four years by setting up safehouses, and providing veterinary treatment, she said. The organisation currently has 67 cheetahs.
Global warming is causing droughts that are more severe for the cheetahs. She said that less grazing supports fewer wild prey and farm animals, which puts increased pressure on them. She stated that farmers who used be able to shrug off a cheetah’s attack on one of their animals are less able to absorb losses. She said that predators can make farmers angry if they eat their livestock. They will track down the mother and find the cubs, and then try to get money from them to cover the losses they have.
Somaliland will open a national park that allows cheetahs to roam, according to Environmental Minister Shukri Ismail Haji. However, even though the tiny, unincorporated region is in the region most affected by climate changes, it cannot access most of the environmental funding because it is not recognized by the world as a separate country.
“We are an unknown government. As a result, the international funding we can receive is very limited. (Editing by Andrew Heavens, Alexandra Zavis)
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff. It is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.