The United Arab Emirates has outlawed the ownership of wild animals as pets ― ending a favored pastime of some wealthy Emirati, who are fond of posting snapshots of their lions, tigers and cheetahs online.
The new law that was signed last month will ban the trade and ownership of wild or exotic pets for any entity other than zoos, wildlife parks, circuses and breeding or research centers, the Gulf News reported on Tuesday. Anyone found violating the legislation could face jail time and fines up to $136,000.
Several high-profile social media accounts have gone viral in recent years that show Emiratis posing and playing with various wild animals, often big cats.
In September, CITES, the body that monitors and regulates the trade in wildlife, released new recommendations to track confiscation numbers of live cheetahs and monitor social media postings of the animals.
— CCF in the UK (@CCFCheetahUK) January 3, 2017
While the move should end much of the trade in big cats, some conservation groups are cautiously optimistic.
The new legislation also affects more domesticated animals. Dogs will be required to have permits and remain on leashes while in public. Violating that statute could result in a $27,000 fine.
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