ABHA — The Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) is planning to prosecute the organizers of unauthorized animal circus shows that do not meet local and global standards, Makkah daily reported.
Taif City Wildlife Research Center director Ahmad Al-Bouq said the SWA wants to put an end to all circus shows that are presented in the Kingdom without proper authorization from local authorities.
Al-Bouq said: “This legislation seeks to protect extinct animals that are used sometimes in such circuses.
“The Kingdom is a signatory of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife, which bans the use of such animals for entertainment unless they have met certain conditions.”
The ban will be enforced by municipalities in each city, he added. Many violations have been noted during circus shows where animals are used.
The way animals were kept, transported and protected did not meet the required standards. If those running such shows comply with the convention and its rules, they will protect the rights of animals.
“Riyadh Zoo is the only one in the Kingdom that provides professional shows while other zoos don’t have the same level of professionalism and their shows pose threats to animals and spectators alike,” Al-Bouq noted.
Faisal Asiri, a young man who owns a zoo in Asir, is worried that the new SWA decision might have negative consequences on him financially as he will not be able to present animal shows during festivals and seasonal events.
He said: “We organize these shows ourselves without the help of pertinent authorities. “We exert great efforts to win spectators’ approval and satisfaction.”
Muhammad Al-Saqa, a festival organizer, said his company will comply with the decision and will not run any animal show unauthorized, hailing the decision and describing it as a good step to protect the safety of animals and spectators.