By Maurice Picow
Is this the right kind of message you should be sending to your kingdom? That large wild felines should be kept in captivity as pets? We ask ourselves these questions all the time, now an almost unbelievable Instagram video of a Dubai prince surfaces.
In it Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai is playing with what appears to be his pet white tiger cub.
The video clip below shows the prince “nuzzling” the baby tiger cub who looks to be returning his owner’s affection. The prince was quoted as saying that he has a “strong spiritual connection” to animals, especially horses. It was posted October 17 and has created a viral following.
Sheikh Hamdan’s father is the current ruler of Dubai.
Where do these pets come from? Ofir Drori from LAGA, an organization in Africa that rescues wild animals from poachers says most of them are smuggled into the Middle East via private jets. While there are laws in some Arab states about owning wild life privately, these laws are apparently not enforced, or relevant if you are the prince.
Drori tells Green Prophet that there are live wild animals found all over the world, and about 3000 big cats living in private houses. “The Middle East does have a big demand for felines and live animals in general,” he says. There you can find trade even with apes. “They laugh at it and feel like a hero – yes, this is it. They keep exotic animals to dazzle their visitors – and for the rich and bored, they might even have a black leopard.”
We see animal abuse stories in the Middle East all the time. We’ve given a lot of attention to endangered big cats being kept as pets in Arabian Gulf countries like the United Arab Emirates where wild animal “pets” are still commonplace. More....