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Roaming Fujairah Wild Cat Finally Captured by Special Team; Owner Pays Penalty

The caracal has been transferred to a zoo where it will receive suitable care and habitat

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on May 8, 2024, 11:57:53


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Authorities in Fujairah have apprehended a wild cat that was sighted roaming freely in a residential area adjacent to the mountains.
Following the circulation of viral footage of the cat on Monday, specialised teams from the Fujairah Environment Authority swiftly acted to pinpoint the whereabouts of the wild feline.

According to Aseela Moalla, Director of the Fujairah Environment Agency, a UAE citizen was identified as the owner of the animal.

The citizen cooperated with authorities by surrendering the wild cat and acknowledging their unawareness regarding the legality of owning such a creature.

Moalla stated that three individuals were involved in the capture of the non-aggressive wild cat, which was found in the vicinity where the video was recorded.

A substantial fine has been imposed on the owner, although the exact amount remains undisclosed. According to UAE law, the penalty for possessing a dangerous animal without registration starts at Dh10,000 and can escalate to Dh500,000.

The caracal has been transferred to a zoo where it will receive suitable care and habitat.

Moalla emphasised that caracals are classified under the red category of the CITES agreement and are protected by local and federal laws, prohibiting their ownership or trade. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species

These medium-sized wild cats are native to the Hajar mountain range, capable of leaping up to 10 feet to catch their prey, and hold significance in the country's ecosystem.

Encountering a wild cat is rare in the UAE. However, if residents do come across one, authorities advise remaining calm and avoiding any actions that may provoke the animal. Unthreatened, the animal is unlikely to attack or cause harm.

Initial reports suggested the wild animal spotted in Fujairah was a lynx. However, the authority clarified that it was a caracal—a creature often mistaken for a lynx. Unlike the furrier lynx, the caracal has distinct features. Despite its nickname 'desert lynx', it is not a member of the lynx family.

The authority urges the public to register any dangerous animals they own promptly and to report environmental concerns, including land and marine animal sightings, via the toll-free number 800368.

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