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Jail time if your cat is a lion

By V M Sathish

The UAE Ministry of Environment and Water Resources has warned those involved in the illegal trade of wild animals in the country, and has reiterated that smugglers will be punished with fines and imprisonment.

“Selling wild animals and big cats like lions, cheetahs and tigers is illegal because the Ministry issues such permits only for registered breeding centers or zoos as the breeding centres or zooes know how to handle [these] species of animals,” a Ministry spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Emirates 24|7.

The warning comes after this website published reports about dubious agents selling cub lions, tigers, cheetahs, deers and other wild animals.

The Ministry has warned that dealing in wild animals remains illegal and punishable under various rules and only licensed breeding centres are permitted to import such animals. Punishment for smuggling or dealing with wild animals go up to Dh10,000 and imprisonment for a few months.

Moza Obaid Al Shamsi, Head of Plants & Animals Quarantine Section, said: “Animals imported illegally or smuggled to the UAE will be subjected to confiscation by the power of law no.11/2002, which also contains penalties articles (25, 26, 27, and 28) for the smugglers.”

The Ministry further clarified: “The Ministry of Environment & Water always carry out  training sessions for Customs authorities in UAE to make those who are involved in such actives to be aware about the import regulations for the sake of protection these species and prevent illegal wildlife trade and protect these species,” the official said.