Tiger Rumour on the Prowl: UAE Law Strictly Prohibits Keeping of Exotic Animals

Previously considered a status symbol, owning big cats now carries hefty penalties, including fines and imprisonment

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Pavitra Shetty

Published on May 1, 2024, 09:06:47


uae, tiger in uae, keeping exotic animals in uae, exotic animal pets

Is there a tiger on the prowl in Sharjah? The Environment and Protected Areas Authority in the emirate says no. The authority swiftly refuted rumors circulating about a big cat wandering the emirate, urging the public to rely solely on credible sources for information.

UAE's Stance on Exotic Pets

The UAE strictly prohibits the keeping of exotic animals like lions as pets. The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has reinforced federal laws to prevent individuals from owning, trading, or breeding dangerous wild animals. Previously considered a status symbol, owning big cats now carries hefty penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

New Legislation to Ensure Public Safety

Recent legislation aims to address the risks posed by roaming exotic animals. It bans the ownership and trade of all dangerous animals, wild or domesticated, except in authorised facilities such as zoos, wildlife parks, and research centres. Those found violating these laws face severe penalties, including imprisonment and substantial fines.

Impact on Pet Owners

The regulations extend to traditional pet owners, particularly dog owners, who must obtain permits and keep their dogs leashed in public. Failure to comply may result in significant fines. While dogs, cats, parrots and small mammals are permitted as pets, exotic animals are strictly prohibited. Certain dog breeds are also barred from entry into the country.

Compliance with Health and Maintenance Rules

Individuals bringing pets into the UAE must adhere to stringent health and maintenance regulations. Pets must be registered, vaccinated, and microchipped, and owners are responsible for cleaning up after them and preventing harm to others or property. Failure to comply may lead to fines and legal repercussions.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Anyone caught taking exotic animals out in public faces imprisonment and fines. The penalties for such actions are severe, with fines reaching up to Dh500,000. Additionally, individuals using wild animals to intimidate or cause fear in others face even harsher penalties, with fines potentially increasing to Dh700,000. Similarly, dog owners failing to leash their pets or vaccinate them against diseases may be fined up to Dh100,000.

The most recent incident of a wild animal roaming loose in the UAE occurred in 2021, causing panic among residents of Dubai. It's also worth noting that according to UAE law, individuals spreading fake news could face hefty penalties, ranging from fines of Dh100,000 to Dh200,000 and imprisonment for one to two years.

Regarding the legality of keeping lions as pets in the UAE, it is strictly prohibited. UAE law explicitly prohibits the ownership of exotic animals like lions as pets. Anyone found violating this law may face legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment.

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