Lions and crocodiles among an­i­mals res­cued in the UAE

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Nawal Al Ramahi @nawal_ramahi nawal@7days.ae

Five lions, three pythons and two crocodiles are among the ex­otic “pets” that have been seized in Shar­jah this year.

An of­fi­cial at the En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Pro­tected Ar­eas Au­thor­ity said they re­ceived nu­mer­ous com­plaints from res­i­dents about an­i­mals be­ing kept il­le­gally - in­clud­ing from peo­ple liv­ing in apart­ments who said they could hear a big cat roar­ing.

Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, di­rec­tor general of the au­thor­ity in Shar­jah, said: “Over the past few months, we have re­ceived com­plaints from res­i­dents about hear­ing lion noises from nearby apart­ments. This is­sue caused a ma­jor con­cern among res­i­dents, es­pe­cially kids.

“Res­i­dents were won­der­ing where these noises come from and how an ex­otic an­i­mal might be housed in an apart­ment.”

How­ever, Al Suwaidi did not say whether the source of the sounds was ever tracked down. She did, though, say that the au­thor­ity works with Shar­jah Po­lice when they re­ceive a com­plaint. So far no one has been hurt.

Al Suwaidi said: “There have been no re­ports about any in­juries caused by a housed ex­otic an­i­mal. Wild an­i­mals are a big threat to the safety of res­i­dents.”

HH Sheikh Sul­tan Al Qasimi, Supreme Coun­cil Mem­ber and Ruler of Shar­jah, is­sued a de­cree in No­vem­ber 2014 ban­ning res­i­dents from own­ing dan­ger­ous an­i­mals. The law ex­cludes li­censed zoos, sci­en­tific cen­tres and uni­ver­si­ties.

Al Suwaidi said: “Own­ers of the con­fis­cated ex­otic an­i­mals have been fined Dhs100,000.” The an­i­mals were also con­fis­cated. The an­i­mals are quar­an­tined for 40 days, while the de­part­ment con­tacts zoos to see if they can be re­homed. Work is also un­der way on a Preda­tors Shel­ter and Care Cen­tre at Shar­jah Desert Park.

Res­i­dents who sus­pect an­i­mals are be­ing kept il­le­gally can call 800 372 2745 or 06 531 1999.

BIG CAT: A lion is taken to a res­cue cen­tre af­ter be­ing seized in Shar­jah

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