By Derek Baldwin
Following a recent spate of sensational exotic animal sightings in residential neighbourhoods, government legislators are poised to put an end to an animal trade reportedly worth billions in the UAE.
Legislators in Abu Dhabi said on Tuesday they are weighing a draft law "to prevent" domestication of endangered species over and above existing laws making endangered exotic pet ownership illegal.
From sightings of a baboon in Garden City earlier this year to a chimpanzee frolicking on the beach to pictures posted online of a lion hanging out of a car window in Jumeirah, there appears to be no shortage of wild pets in the UAE.
Questionable pet ownership may be growing despite stern warnings last year by the UAE government of Dh50,000 fines and imprisonment of up to six months.
Earlier this week, members of the Ministerial Council for Services gave clear instructions during a meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
"The spreading practice of possessing wild animals and predators as pets and growing them in households also came up for discussion at the Council's meeting," the council said, as reported by WAM. "The council has given directives to the Ministry of Environment to draft necessary laws to prevent this practice." More....