UAE to introduce new laws banning exotic pet keeping

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A tiger riding in a Range Rover at the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, UAE. Photo - Topgear.com

The government of UAE announced on Tuesday it will be taking practical steps, including new legislation, to curb the practice of Emiratis owning exotic animals as pets.

Animal rights activists have urged the country’s Ministry of Environment to prevent the practice which is spreading at an alarming rate.

The move comes after reports of several wild animals being spotted around the UAE.

A pet cheetah died after escaping from a cage in a private villa last month. A baboon was also found roaming around in a city neighbourhood.

Some incidents prove a major hit on social networking websites and, as a result, encourage other people to post their antics and claim some fame.

Last year, the UAE government warned residents of a fine of up to AED50,000 ($13,610) and six months in jail if caught flouting laws on selling and owning endangered species.

The warning came just weeks after an Emirati man was arrested at Bangkok International Airport after Thai custom officers found his suitcases filled with endangered animals.

According to anti-trafficking group Freeland Foundation, the Dubai-bound animals included baby leopards, panthers, a bear and monkeys, that were sedated.

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