UAE's destructive fascination with exotic animals

Rich arabs in the UAE tend to be fascinated with possessing exotic animals and a favourite is the cheetah. Why the cheetah? Because it is quite a shy, retiring large wild cat species which is fairly easy to handle and which has been employed for centuries to go hunting with their human 'master'.

The big problem is the rich arabs of the UAE circumvent regulations and treaties such as CITES to smuggle these animals into their country to populate their private zoos whereupon, through gross ignorance and a lack of sensitivity, they gradually starve the animal to death via neurological disorders. Some UAE residents haven't a clue how to care for a large cat. It will please and amuse them for a while and then it will die at which point, I suppose, they smuggle in another. They are disposable, you know, even if they are endangered.

Only this month a post-mortem on a cheetah revealed carpet in it stomach. It must have been so hungry it ate carpet.

These arrogant, exotic cat owners don't kill their 'pets' deliberately. God forbid. They kill through ignorance. The buyers of these animals act on a whim. It shows. No doubt they like the status of possessing an exotic wild cat. It is pathetic and sad.

And we have to criticise the people who are meant to enforce CITES. This treaty is meant to stop illegal trade in wild species but it has to be enforced if it is to be useful. Money circumvents enforcement.

Cheetahs and other large wild cat species are in the UAE for the sole purpose of entertaining the rich with connections.

There are no laws in UAE regulating private zoos. There should be. The rich arabs of UAE are contributing to the extinction of wild cat species in the wild. Something must be done. People in authority need to take steps. They need to take responsibility. They are not concerned. They are too involved with how to spend their petro-dollars.

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