Two endangered Ethiopian cheetah cubs were rescued from a remote Ethiopian village this week and flown to safety by American soldiers to a new home in the capital, Addis Ababa. The soldiers were on a humanitarian mission in Ethiopia’s Gode region, when they came across the animals tied up outside a local village restaurant, being taunted and abused by patrons and neighborhood children. The soldiers tried to urge restaurant owner Mohamed Hudle to hand over the cubs, but he demanded a $1,000 a piece for the cats – a sum ten times the average local income. The Americans contacted the Ethiopian government, who assigned a skilled veterinarian to the case, and a cheetah conservation group headquartered in Namibia, the Cheetah Conservation Fund. The veterinarian, Fekadu Shiferaw, flew to the region last weekend, confiscated the cubs and turned them over to American forces, who flew them to safety. The cubs are now being well cared for and are settling comfortably into their new residence, the National Palace of President Girma Woldegiorgis in Addis Ababa. Several other rescued lions and some monkeys also live on the palace grounds. The U.S. troops are part of a task force in the Horn of Africa that shares intelligence-gathering capability with countries in the region and carries out humanitarian projects. English to Africa reporter Howard Lesser learned details of the rescue mission from Mary Wykstra, the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s Project Coordinator in Nairobi, Kenya.