Wild Cats Make Headlines: This Time, a Predator Lynx Roams Fujairah, Prompting Probe

A viral video showing a wild animal roaming near a residential area in Fujairah has raised concerns

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on May 7, 2024, 16:10:05


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Wild cats continue to make headlines in the UAE. Two weeks ago in Sharjah, it was just a rumour -- about a big cat wandering the emirate which was immediately refuted by authorities. This time it’s a real lynx, causing nightmares for residents of Fujairah.

A recent viral video depicting a wild animal roaming near a residential area in Fujairah has sparked concerns among residents and environmental authorities alike. The emirate's environmental authority has swiftly responded to the situation, initiating an investigation into the matter.

According to reports from the Fujairah Environment Agency, a specialist team has been deployed to the area where the animal was spotted. Their primary objective is to ascertain the current whereabouts of the animal and assess the potential risks it poses to residents and local wildlife.

The animal in question has been identified as an Al Washq, locally known as a Caracal. This medium-sized cat is renowned for its agility and hunting prowess, capable of leaping up to 10 feet into the air to catch its prey. While these creatures are native to the region, their presence in residential areas raises concerns about human-wildlife interactions.

Authorities are working diligently to determine whether the wild animal is owned by a resident or if it is a stray. In the event that the animal is found to be domesticated, necessary legal action will be taken against the responsible individual, as per statements from the environmental authority.

UAE's Stance

The UAE strictly prohibits the keeping of wild animals 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 wild animals now carries hefty penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

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

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.

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.

Exercise Caution

In light of the Fujairah incident, residents have been urged to exercise caution and maintain a safe distance from the animal if encountered.

Additionally, wildlife enthusiasts and pioneers are advised to refrain from approaching or attempting to interact with the animal, prioritising safety above all else.

The environmental authority has encouraged residents to promptly report any sightings of wild animals or related incidents. A toll-free hotline (800368) has been provided for residents to reach out and report such occurrences, facilitating swift response and intervention from the authorities.

As the investigation unfolds, authorities remain committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of both residents and wildlife in Fujairah.

By fostering awareness and cooperation within the community, efforts are underway to mitigate potential risks and preserve the delicate balance between humans and wildlife in the region.

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