Four lions, a lioness, three pythons, and two crocodiles have been removed from homes in Sharjah by the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), it was revealed on Wednesday.
Hana Al Suwaidi, chairperson of the EPAA, said in comments published by news agency WAM that the authority is seeking the issuance of a new federal law in the UAE to ban and confiscate predators from residences.
Those who fail to comply would face a fine of AED30,000, or a one month prison sentence for each animal, she said.
She added that the owner of these animals will be monitored for one to two months before the confiscation, after being granted permission by the prosecutors, in collaboration with the Sharjah Police and its task group.
She added that the penalties are meant to highlight and enforce UAE’s laws to protect exotic animals and ban the illegal trade of critically endangered animals, as part of the country’s enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
In January, three people were charged with public endangerment over an incident that saw a lioness escape from a home in Dubai and prowl the streets for several hours.
Al Suwaidi said that the first phase of a project to set up the Predators Shelter and Care Centre on 27,000 square kilometers of land in Sharjah Desert Park has begun.
Currently, a decree of prohibition and confiscation of predators and dangerous animals in Sharjah imposes a fine of AED100,000 on the owners of predatory animals that are determined to be a danger to other people in the vicinity.
However, owners do not have to pay the fine if they voluntarily hand over their predatory animals.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.