According to a statement from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Somaliland Police rescued nine cheetah cubs from smugglers in Haji Salah district in the Odweyne region. The statement adds that five suspects and two vehicles were caught in the operation conducted by Somaliland Police. Somaliland is home to the critically acclaimed cheetah where 6700 adult cheetahs are estimated to remain in the wild.
According to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, which runs a cheetah care center in Somaliland, around 40 cubs are rescued each year from smugglers by Somaliland law enforcement, where an estimate in 2019 by CCF put the number of cheetah cubs successfully smuggled from Somaliland at around 300.
Officials from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change have thanked law enforcement for rescuing the cheetah cubs and asked the public to help protect wildlife and other precious national resources.
The exotic pet trade has fueled the smuggling of cheetah cubs from Somaliland to Gulf states where affluent patrons pay exuberant amounts for the cheetah and other exotic wildlife.