There are few sights more beautiful than a majestic cheetah in the wild. And few more upsetting than that same creature injured and limping through the streets of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Yet that is exactly the scene that greeted a few residents this morning.
We have covered way too many wild animal abuse cases this week: a lion cub was shot dead in Egypt, another Egyptian man plans to fight a grown African lion to boost tourism, and now this. But for each reported incident of illegal wildlife trafficking and abuse, there are probably dozens more that are hidden from public view. Read on to learn more.
Private zoos in Egypt and the UAE:
The United Arab Emirates and Egypt are particularly well-known for indulging in private zoo collections of illegally-purchased exotic species.
Last year a man was arrested for bringing endangered falcon eggs into the country, while more recently, an Emirati man was arrested in Thailand for attempting to smuggle sedated leopard cubs that were packed in his suitcase.
Baby grows up:
But what happens when the cuddly little cats become grown wild animals?
Gulf News reports that when Abu Dhabi residents in the Karama area spotted the cheetah they immediately alerted the Khaldiyah Police Station. The police then contacted the municipality to try to trap the cheetah.
Ronel Smutts, Director of Abu Dhabi’s Wild Life Center and an animal activist, told the paper that the cheetah was “badly injured.” She added that the center dispatched a veterinarian experienced in treating wild animals since the municipality’s pest control people are not.
Another activist told the paper that the injured cheetah was caught and held in a cage lacking proper ventilation. The apparent temperature in the Emirate is currently 41 degrees Celsius or 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
Only 7,500 cheetahs left in the world:
Listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN list of threatened animal species, there are only 7,500 cheetahs left in the wild. Their diminishing populations are threatened by farmers concerned to protect livestock, habitat loss, and illegal trade.
It is uncertain where the cheetah came from or how it ended up on the streets, but if they ever hope to be treated seriously by the international community, the United Arab Emirates should put an end to the inhumane treatment of animals and illegal wildlife trafficking.
Otherwise, there is every justification for the western world to view some of country’s residents as nothing more than “spoiled, rich Arabs.”
:: Gulf News
More on Illegal Wildlife Trafficking in the Middle East: