By Thaer Zriqat
SHARJAH // A lioness, hyenas, alligators, pythons, baboons, scorpions, spiders and lynx were among the wild animals handed over to Environment and Protected Areas Authority officials during an amnesty held last year.
The animals were taken to the emirate’s Breeding Centre for Arabian Endangered Wildlife, said Hana Al Sweidi, director of Sharjah Epaa.
Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, last year issued an administrative order prohibiting residents from owning predators, with a Dh100,000 fine for anyone caught with a banned animal following an alarming trend among young people buying wild animals.
“These animals were imported illegally into the country. The UAE is a member of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which bans the trade of wild animals and plants,” said Ms Al Sweidi.
In January, a team from the Epaa confiscated four wolves in Al Sabkha area, while this month, a lioness was confiscated from a home in Al Qarain.
“Our toll free hotline, 800 3722745, received more than 60 calls recently reporting wild animals inside homes in the emirate,” said Ms Al Sweidi.
“The owners sometimes can’t handle their animals, so they call us,” Ms Al Sweidi said.
The breeding centre in Sharjah serves as a base for research into fish, amphibians and invertebrates that inhabit the Arabian Peninsula.