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UAE bans wild animals as pets

IANS | Dubai, |

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has banned the keeping of wild animals as pets.

The new law banned dealing in and ownership of "all types of wild and domesticated but dangerous animals', Xinhua news agency said citing media reports

According to the law, only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research institutions would be authorised to keep exotic animals.

Keeping endangered creatures, including cheetahs and tigers, as pets was regarded as a symbol of social status in some oil-rich Gulf countries. 

Pictures of UAE citizens playing with big cats in cities were posted on social media.

A video emerged online in October showing five tigers paddling in the water on the beach near Dubai's iconic Burj Al-Arab Hotel.

Another footage in May showed a tiger roaming through the traffic on a highway in Qatar, with a broken chain attached to its collar.

According to the new law, taking an exotic animal out in public could result in a jail term of up to six months and a fine of about $136,000. 

Those who use wildcats to terrorise other people would be jailed or fined up to $191,000.

Meanwhile, dog owners were required to get permits and keep their pets on leashes in public, or face fines of up to $27,000.