Dubai Porsche Driver Walks Pet Cheetah on a Leash

IUCN, CITES, wildlife trafficking, conservation, illegal traffickingThis juvenile cheetah is paraded in front of several onlookers in the streets of Dubai.

Trafficking illegal drugs in the United Arab Emirates can earn offenders a death sentence, but trafficking wild animals that are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) apparently goes unnoticed if committed by a rich Emirati.

Not so long after a cheetah was found roaming the streets of Abu Dhabi, Dubai residents spotted a grown man “walking” an African cheetah last week near Media City.

After the animal showed visible signs of distress, the man coaxed it back into his fancy Porche Cayenne and left, ostensibly facing no charges for what should be considered a very serious crime.

The cheetah was seen walking around at the end of a leash in a parking lot that looks nothing at all like the Cheetah’s natural habitat in Africa. One expatriate on the scene told Gulf News that the man paraded the animal around for a full 20 minutes, as curious onlookers parked their cars to observe the spectacle, before it became uncomfortably skittish.

Although the United Arab Emirates has been an official member of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Wild Species in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora, since 2002, officials appear to look the other way when blatantly illegal wildlife trafficking spills into the UAE’s public realm.

Nor is it possible to claim ignorance. A comprehensive list (in Arabic) of endangered animals and helpful tools to identify them have been available to anti-trafficking employees since 2008 thanks to combined efforts between EWS-WWF and the Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD).

Nonetheless, the frequency with which wild animals are spotted throughout the Emirates, other Gulf countries, and Egypt suggests that there is a hole in the regulatory system.  If there were proper fines in place for individuals who acquire illegally-traded wildlife and traffickers were actually concerned about strict enforcement, then surely they would scale back their efforts.

Private zoos: a right or an abomination?

Instead, Karl Amman – an expert in the industry – told Green Prophet in an interview earlier this year that having a private zoo is almost considered a right among Saudis, Emiratis and other wealthy Arabs in the Gulf Region and parts of North Africa.

Dr Khan, a member of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas, told the paper that:

No wild animal should be kept on leash and be walked through public places. Wild cats are dangerous to the public … Wildlife is always best in its natural habitats, not in human company.

If you live in a country where ownership of animals that belong in the wild is considered “cool,” won’t you share your thoughts with us. Do you think it should be allowed, do you think the animals are better off in private zoos than they are in public zoos? What do you think of zoos in general? If you are as tired as we are of reading about such chronic threats to biodiversity, we would love some suggestions about the best method for tackling home ownership of wild animals in a country that is sensitive when criticized.

:: Gulf News

More wild animals held as pets in the Middle East:

Live Baby Leopard Found in Suitcase En Route to Dubai

Injured Cheetah Discovered on the Streets of Abu Dhabi

Lion Cub Shot Dead in Egypt

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13 thoughts on “Dubai Porsche Driver Walks Pet Cheetah on a Leash”

  1. nick potoczny says:

    ive seen videos he rarely uses the leash, it was probably only because it was in front of people, and having these animals as pets is no different than a house cat if your professional, look up the lion whisperer, man who has a passion for raising lions, has about 40 by now

  2. Michel says:

    It is quite abusive and immoral to just relocate the Cheetahs from their original habitat.
    Saying that the Porsche Driver MIGHT NOT know the consequences is completely absurd. Just as the ignorance of the law does not protect you from it, the ignorance of your actions when it comes to a living creature does not protect you from your actions.
    Dog owners should research the breed before they buy or adopt (in my case adopt) to know his temperament and know how to deal with him. Owning a Cheetah definitely needs research specially that is raises questions of morality, security and humanity.

  3. Bemused Sheikh. says:

    No, Dubai is part of United Arab Emirates, a country located in the Middle East Asia. And yes, more public education is needed. May Lord have mercy on the cat and on the uneducated. Peace.

  4. RZ says:

    Two points:

    1) Cheetah’s have been kept by humans as pets for thousands of years. A cheetah is not a lion, tiger, or leapord. Completely different temperaments and about as different as a wolf compared to a poodle (hence why there’s never been a single report of a cheetah killing someone).

    2) Dubai is in Africa.

    1. Malcolm says:

      Dubai is in Asia u ignorant

  5. MYODB says:

    It’s not “illegal” to own an endangered species – otherwise a bunch of Las Vegas magic shows would be shut down. And to put it on the same level as drug traffiking? You must be joking.
    The important thing is if it’s being treated well. And at least if he has a Porsche, he probably has the money to take care of. Would you rather that cheetah have been killed by an African tribe for killing their chickens?
    Get over yourself, World Police.

  6. Maurice says:

    He’s driving a Porsche and walking a cheetah on a leash when starving people in places like Somalia would probably eat a cat if they could catch it.

  7. The fact that he parades the animal in public makes it clear he either dosnt realize its illegal or knows that despite it being illegal he will suffer no real consequences. Either scenario is not good.
    The book ‘A Diamond in the Desert’, claiming t be an insight into Abu Dhabi, also includes a Cheetah as a ‘house pet’ perhaps the owners are one and the same – if so its clearly a well known issue or the owners are different and its presumably not confined just to the one Porsche owner who parades a Cheetah in Dubai.

  8. Maurice says:

    That’s one reason why so few are now left in the wild. Cheetas are already on the endangered species list. I guess will buy anything – even this nonsense.

  9. The Green Sheikh says:

    In my position I will not criticized and to be reactive, I went through the scenario of actions of those who have anger and comments negatively! I had seen similar to these examples in many countries, doesn’t means we are the best! I think we are living in heavy consumer society and highly diverse of nationality.

    For example sometime we see the dressing of code of conduct are not applied or respected in this country and no one complains, it became natural in other countries! I think respect of values and the rights of living are important and should applied to all people living in harmony, either with human right, cultural and tradition rights and faith right, all should put in respect.

    The person who showed off in public with his endanger pet could have no idea what will happen in front of public and their reaction. We could not blame him, the gap are the main entry of ports in the country. It should be fulfilled and reinforced based on CITES treaty and federal or local law.

    Awareness program should continually grow and spread in all aspect of life and especially when it comes and concern public. By head with education, by heart with law and by hand with action and reinforcement.

    The Green Sheikh !

    1. Thanks for your comments. You’re right of course that every nation has its share of people who do not respect customs, laws, and rights, and that we should not single out Arab countries (in fact, I recently learned that people in the USA have a shocking number of illegal animals stashed away) but do you really think this fellow is not responsible for knowing that it’s not right to have a wild animal for a pet?

      1. And considering that we are covering the Middle East region I think it is appropriate to single out animal rights abusers in the region.

  10. The wild animals in this story are clearly the idiots who try and get away with this nonsense – flaunting their imagined power on the streets of Dubai.

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