Dancing in the streets has gotten people in Saudi Arabia in trouble more than just a couple of times, but would you have ever thought taking a lion out for a walk would lead to an arrest, too?
Well, for starters, the idea probably never crossed your mind because: (1) you've probably never seen a lion just randomly roaming the streets and (2) you probably never thought it was legal for someone to own a lion anywhere in the world. In the case of Saudi Arabia, it's actually illegal, which explains why one man was recently arrested when a lion was seen in his possession.
There are rules in Saudi Arabia that prohibit the rearing and trading of lions, which automatically makes it unlawful to be seen taking "your lion out for a walk." Authorities in the city of Jeddah recently arrested a man after he was seen with a lion in public. Local security agencies received an alert of the situation and the dangers the lion could pose for hanging out outside a café on one of Jeddah's main roads.
When police arrived to the scene, they found the lion seated in the Saudi national's car. The owner, who is currently being questioned by police, handed the lion over to the city's municipal authorities.
The Saudi Wildlife Authority has repeatedly warned against the private ownership and sale of wild animals, though enforcement remains lax. Still, people in Saudi Arabia are advised to report anyone caught in illegal possession of such animals. Authorities have been more vigilant about the illegal trade of wild animals in recent years, but, unfortunately, that doesn't mean all smuggling attempts have been thwarted.
Domesticating wild or exotic animals is a violation of Saudi law. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).