This is a huge win for animals.
The United Arab Emirates has finally abolished the ownership of exotic pets by making it 100% illegal, which is a welcome announcement given how widespread it was throughout the country.
This is because exotic pets are viewed as a prominent status symbol in the UAE, with it not being unusual to see the likes of cheetahs and other exotic animals kept as common house pets.
While in our taxi to the hotel, you’ll notice a ferocious beast to our left. You know he’s wild because he’s both…
So, now the ownership of animals such as cheetahs, tigers, lions, and other exotic pets is punishable with a fine of up to 500,000 dirhams – approximately $136,000 – and the possibility of jail time.
“Only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research centres are entitled to keep wild or exotic animals,” Gulf News reported. “The public is urged to report cases of wild animals being kept as pets.”
Animal advocates are viewing the new law as a massive victory towards reducing the numbers of wild animals kept in captivity, particularly those that are illegally trafficked and then promoted on social media by their new owners, with the UAE being a massive hub for animal trade.
“Government action is essential to protect wild animals from the destructive pet trade, and with the Middle East being the primary destination for cheetah cubs as pets, the conservation of the species rests on decisions such as this,” Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, explains.
“Where the UAE has been a destination country for cheetah cubs stolen and smuggled from Africa, perhaps now the market will be closed down. And instead of glorifying the keeping of cheetahs as pets, now it will become taboo.”
Meet Humaid AlBuQaish who lives in the United Arab Emirates and has a collection of exotic 'pets' like tigers and lions.
Strangely enough, there are states in the US where it remains legal to own certain exotic pets, including a tiger!
“Other governments, including the U.S., need to follow suit and do more to stop the trade in wild animals as pets,” Roberts said.
To help exotic animals rescued from backyards across the U.S. you can donate to Big Cat Rescue here.