UAE bans wild animals as pets

DUBAI, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has outlawed the private ownership of wild animals like lions or tigers, according to local media reports.

The new law banned dealing in and ownership of "all types of wild and domesticated but dangerous animals," the Gulf News said on Wednesday, adding that only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research institutions are authorized to keep exotic animals.

Keeping endangered creatures including cheetahs and tigers as pets is regarded as a symbol of social status in some oil-rich Gulf countries. Pictures of UAE citizens playing with big cats in cities were posted on social media.

A video emerged online in October showing five tigers paddling in the water on the beach near Dubai's iconic Burj Al-Arab Hotel.

Other footage in May showed a tiger roaming through the traffic on a highway in Qatar, with a broken chain attached to its collar.

According to the law, taking an exotic animal out in public could result in a jail term of up to six months and a fine of up to 500,000 UAE dirhams (about 136,000 U.S. dollars). Those who use wildcats to terrorize other people will be jailed or fined up to 700,000 dirhams (191,000 dollars).

Meanwhile, dog owners are required to get permits and keep their pets on leashes in public, or to face fines of up to 100,000 dirhams (27,000 dollars).

[ Editor: Gao Lingjie ]


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