Good News Tewsday: Wild Cat Trafficking Outlawed in UAE


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has passed a law banning the private ownership and trade of wild and dangerous animals, including cheetahs, tigers, and lions. Those keeping these animals as pets and status symbols will be subject to a $136,000 fine or jail.

Anyone seen in public walking his exotic pet–taking your cheetah for a walk is not unheard of in the UAE–could face up to six months in jail and will have the animal confiscated.

Ronel Barcellos, manager of the Abu Dhabi Wildlife Center, told CNN: “The UAE has come a long way … I am happy to see that the law has been passed, but steps need to be taken to ensure that it is implemented properly.”


The lions, cheetahs, tigers and other exotic animals have been illegally taken from their natural environment and smuggled into the UAE. Many do not survive the journey. It’s been reported that tiger cubs can cost $3,000 and a rare white lion can sell for around $50,000 on the black market.

The wealthy often post pictures on social media flaunting their exotic animal collections. Some owners have showcased their cheetahs in front of luxury cars, others show off photos of the animals being walked along the beach.


Even the Crown Prince of Dubai, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, has posted several pictures of himself with a lion on Instagram.

Of course, they are unprepared for the extraordinary care required to keep these animals healthy and happy. Many are abandoned, leaving private individuals to care for the neglected animals in wildlife parks backed by the government.

One of these caregivers, Jasim Ali, told CNN, “If someone buys a very expensive animal, he is boasting that he has enough money to get anything he wants.

“If he has a tamed wild animal like a lion, he is trying to show off that he is brave. But this is not courage; this is animal rights abuse.”

The new law is effective immediately and owners are required to hand over their pets to the authorities.

[PHOTOS: via Instagram]

Category: Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Mousebreath Magazine is an award-winning online magazine that celebrates cats and the cat-centric lifestyle. Editor Karen Nichols is a popular conference speaker and writer, whose current project is The Cat Scout Handbook. She is also the denmaster at

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Lee in Phoenix says:

    It would be better if they ban importing and selling the animals rather than taking them from people who already have them. Some of those cheetahs and other animals are owned by people who love them and care for them very well. Consider the last sentence in this article. “Owners are required to hand over their pets to the authorities.” That’s just wrong. I know how I would feel if we were told to hand over our pets (3 cats) to the authorities. And I can guess how our cats would feel about it. One of them is sitting on my lap as I type this and she wouldn’t like it a bit. Sorry for the rant, but I found this disturbing.

  2. Casper says:

    Trafficking in wild animals (including monkeys, parrots, etc) is horrible, and I’m happy to see that steps are being taken to eliminate it.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers