Two international conservation charities have joined forces to launch an awareness campaign in Somaliland, to educate the public about the critical issue of wildlife trafficking, with a specific focus on the cheetahs of the Horn of Africa.

The campaign, organized by the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and the Wild Africa Fund, is aimed at combating the illegal wildlife pet trade in cheetahs from the Horn of Africa.

The charities highlighted the innovative media strategies employed by the Wild Africa Fund to reduce poaching of African elephants and rhinos, which will now be extended to address the trafficking of cheetahs in the Horn of Africa.

“The initiative underscores a significant step towards protecting Somaliland’s wildlife and raising global awareness about the devastating impacts of illegal wildlife trade,” the CCF said in a statement.

The campaign comes amid reports that more than 200 cheetahs have been trafficked into the Middle East annually, out of a regional population of about 400 individuals in the Horn of Africa.

The awareness program, developed in collaboration with Somaliland’s two relevant ministries, included interviews with key government officials and influential social media personalities, who pledged to use their platforms to advocate for the conservation of wildlife in Somaliland.

The CCF is currently caring for 97 cheetahs rescued from the illegal wildlife pet trade at its Cheetah Rescue and Conservation Center (CRCC) in Geed-Deeble in Somaliland.

The world population of cheetah is less than 7,000 individuals, and this regional subspecies has recently been uplisted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to “Endangered.”