UAE bans sale and possession of tigers and lions as pets

Offenders risk up to six months in prison and fines up to $ 140 thousand. Large felines represent a status symbol to show off in homes, cars and on the streets. The new law also cover dog owners: registration, use of leash and vaccination mandatory.


Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The private possession of wild animals like tigers, lions and cheetahs are now banned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)after years of controversy and debate. A widespread trend in the country - and other States in the oil-rich region - it is not uncommon for wealthy families to have large and mostly dangerous feline specimens as pets.

These animals have long represented a status symbol to show off not only in domestic settings, but also in parks, on boats and even in cars (see photo).

It is not uncommon to see photos of wealthy Arabs on their social profiles posing next to big felines, regardless not only of the danger they represent, but also the needs of the same animals that prefer other natural habitats.

In October a video where some tigers - white and Bengali - were bathing in the waters off a beach in Dubai went viral on the web.

However, from today owners are likely to face heavy fines if not the prison for violations.

Rather than motivated by the need to protect these animals, the Emirate authorities are trying to curb the danger posed by the animals, which have repeatedly have been found roaming free in the streets of the country. According to reports from the site Gulf News, the law prohibits the sale and possession of "all kinds of wild animals and domesticated ones, but which still represent a danger.

In future, these animals should be housed only in zoos, wildlife parks, circuses and research centers or conservation and study of wild species. Anyone found with a large feline or other exotic animals in public will be punished with penalties of up to six months in prison and fines of 500 thousand dirhams (just under $ 140 thousand). The fines can go up to 700 thousand dirhams if the samples are used to "terrorize" the population.

The legislation also involves the owners of more traditional domestic animals. Even dog owners, in fact, will have to apply for and obtain a permit and, in the case of walking in public, will need to keep the animal on a leash and make vaccines against the most dangerous diseases.

Again there are fines up to 100 thousand dirhams for breaches. Dog lovers will have until mid-June to get licenses and proceed with injections.

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