The trafficking of wild animals for sale to rich and wannabe rich collectors in the Gulf appears to have reach a new high following the recent Green Prophet disclosure of a “pet” cheetah cub being led around on a leash by a Porsche driver in Dubai. This unusual example of wild animals being sold as pets in various parts of the United Arab Emirates, follows on the heels of other episodes, including one of an injured baby cheetah found on the loose in Abu Dhabi; and another example of an anesthetized baby leopard found in a suitcase on its way to being sold to someone in Dubai. The accounts rare and wild of animal trafficking seem to be happening every day. A new kids book might help stop the problem, by creating awareness from the ground up.Lion cub found in UAE apartment
Wild animals being sold as pets appears to still be commonplace in the UAE, despite increased efforts being made to stop this practice, according to local media sources, including an article from The National that writes that the problem stems from parents buying the animals for their children as a result of children’s stories on the same subject.
The problem of wild animals being sold and raised as pets in the UAE has been ongoing for years, and stories like tiger cubs found in pet markets, as well as lion cubs being raised in, of all places, an Emirate apartment, as reported in Gulf News back in 2006.
The wealthy will spend money on expensive toys, including those like the white gold bio fuel powered Mercedes that was seen plying the streets in Abu Dhabi a while back. This extravagance also goes for pets, especially exotic wild animals. As commented in The National, efforts are now being made to educate people, and children, that keeping wild animals as pets is wrong and should be stopped. This is an obvious to westerners, but not at all to the privileged in the Middle East who may not actually know any better.
As noted by Dr. Elsayyed Mohamed, program manager for the Dubai branch of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW):
“It’s a story about exotic pets.We’re targeting the keeping of dangerous animals as pets because we know this happens here, everybody knows there is a problem of keeping dangerous animals as pets in the UAE and other Gulf states. It is difficult to convince adults, usually you will not succeed, but you can convince children about what is right.”
Dr. Mohamad is basing his strategy on a children’s book entitled Nassar and Shabool which is about a child who has lion cub and mistreats it; only to be later captured himself and taken to a jungle where the boy finds himself surrounded by wild animals including Shabool’s mother, who want to punish him for mistreating Shabool.
The moral for teaching children is to hopefully instill in them that keeping wild animals as pets is morally and physically unacceptable, says Dr. Mohamad.
Read more about the sale of wild animals and other extravagance in the UAE:
Dubai Porsche Owner Walks Cheetah Cub on Leash
Badly Injured Cheetah Found on Abu Dhabi Streets
Live Baby Leopard found in Suitcase En-route to Dubai
Abu Dhabi’s White Gold Bio fuel Mercedes is Another Dubious Green Development