A new law targeting the possession, trading and breeding of exotic pets has been passed in the United Arab Emirates by the President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Activists have welcomed the new law. "People keep wild animals as a status symbol," El Sayed Mohamed, regional director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Dubai, told The National. He explained that this decision sets an example for other GCC countries to follow.
The penalty for owning a now illegal pet ranges from 10,000 dirhams ($2,723) to 700,000, ($190,574) which is a great way to demotivate locals from keeping these beautifully rare animals as status symbols.
“The law bans dealing in and ownership of all types of wild and domesticated but dangerous animals," the UAE government said, according to What's On Dubai.
These animals will be treated more fairly, and will only be allowed in zoos, wildlife parks, circuses and breeding and research centers from now on. The government also urges people to report cases of wild animals being domesticated.
Many of these animals, such as cheetahs, are also endangered and face possible extinction. Animal trafficking and poaching significantly contribute to the depletion of their populations in the wild.
"Only In Dubai" pets will now be a thing of the past
"Only in Dubai" pictures featuring wild cats and other exotic animals have been a huge part of the confusing expressions on our faces. Now we can say goodbye to these bizarre sightings.
No more white tigers playing on the beach
No more cheetahs riding shotgun
No more cheetahs pretending they're in music videos
And no more lions riding speed boats
As activists have pointed out, the UAE is doing something very important. These animals are not simply another accessory.
But we can't help but wonder ... What's Prince Hamdan's - the Crown Prince of Dubai's - take on this new law?