Another young cheetah rescued in ethiopia

11 February 2022


Born Free Ethiopia undertake a six-day round trip to bring little Dehar to safety.

A photo of a young cheetah lying on a green, black and yellow patterned blanket.

On the 28th December 2021, the team at Born Free’s Ethiopian wildlife rescue centre, Ensessa Kotteh, received a request from the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority to take in a young cheetah.

Estimated to be between six and seven months old, he had been confiscated from wildlife traffickers and was over 1000km away in the Ethiopian city of Keberi Dehar. This call for help occurred only two weeks after the arrival of a sub-adult cheetah to our centre under very similar circumstances.

Due to the distance the cheetah was from the centre, and the fact that the journey would take Born Free staff through several regional governments, permissions from the authorities had to be granted before the rescue mission could go ahead. Therefore, it was not until nearly a month later at the end of January 2022 that Born Free staff began the six-day round trip to go and rescue the young male. He was being housed in a police station since being confiscated, and spent some time tied on a short tether before Born Free staff arrived to take him to his new home.

It was a challenging journey which involved two delays at check points on the way back to the centre, one of which held the team up for many hours in stressful circumstances, so everyone was very happy to finally return to the centre in the late evening of January 30th. The rescue took a lot of effort and team work to pull off successfully, and we are grateful to everyone involved.

Upon arrival, the new cheetah – who has been named Dehar – was malnourished, dehydrated, and had a very dull coat, suggesting poor health. He also has an old injury to his leg which is currently being monitored. It will take a lot of work to settle this new arrival in and get him up to good health. He has had a very stressful start to life and is understandably nervous of his surroundings, but he has eaten well and already shown interest in some of the enrichment provided to him during the journey home. We are glad that he is finally somewhere that his welfare will be prioritised and where he can begin to experience a joyful life.

We would like to thank EWCA for alerting Ensessa Kotteh to the plight of this cheetah and ensuring all the logistics of this operation ran smoothly and the required paperwork was in place, and especially EWCA Law Enforcement Directorate officer – Kumala Derirsa who accompanied our team on the long journey, the Born Free rescue team Bereket Girma (Head of Centre), Tilahun Bayena, and Dr Sisay (veterinarian), Somali Region Police Commission, G/Ie. C Abdimalik Kamal A/Salam, Somali Region Keberi Dehar Police Division, and finally Ato Fetene Hailu from iFAW, for their invaluable co-operation which ensured the rescue operation ran smoothly.

You can help us rescue and care for more cheetahs in Ethiopia by adopting The Cheetah Family today.



A photo of a Toyota Van being loaded-up by a man wearing a Born Free rescue team t-shirt.

A photo of a young cheetah sitting in a dark room.