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Two rare lion cubs saved in Somalia

By Brooke Janssens - 28 Mar 2011 15:26:0 GMT
Two rare lion cubs saved in Somalia

As civil war wages through Somalia, animal trafficking often goes undetected, but two rare Berbera lion cubs had a struck of luck after being saved by the interventions of Somali authorities.

Associated Press has reported that after their mother was shot, the two cubs, a brother and sister, were smuggled through Somalia's capital and onto a ship bound for the Middle East.

The lions had been retrieved four weeks ago after Mogadishu's port manager took his concerns to Bancroft authorities; an organization dedicated to removing violence from public relations. Bancroft has been training African Union peacekeepers in the hazardous Somali capital, and thankfully they're looking out for crimes against animals as well.

The 3-month-old cubs are now being put in the hands of the Bancroft, which already have suitable facilities as well as a veterinary clinic. The veterinary care is usually for their teams of bomb-sniffing dogs they provide, but they're prepared to take on cases such as these.

According to Katharine Houreld from the Associated Press, Mike Stock, the head of Bancroft, said ''the plan is that [Somali President] Sheikh Sharif will give them to [Ugandan President] Museveni until Somalia is capable of taking them back.'' He also spoke of being in contact with the Smithsonian to see if the cubs could be involved in a scientific breeding program.

Richard Bailey, an employee of Albany Associates, said ''It's not the first time animals have been spotted in the hands of traffickers, but it is the first time they have been confiscated.'' Amongst the chaos of the ongoing war in Somalia, it seems some have turned a blind eye to the animals that get caught up in it. Hopefully we see more interventions such as this in regards to animal smuggling in the area.