The UAE said on Tuesday it is mulling new legislation to stop the practice of Emiratis owning exotic animals as pets.
The country's Ministry of Environment is being urged to draft laws to prevent the practice which is becoming more common among UAE citizens.
The directive came from the Ministerial Council for Services whose latest meeting was presided over by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy prime minister and minister of presidential affairs, state news agency WAM reported.
The move follows several recent reports of wild animals being spotted around the UAE.
Last month, a pet cheetah died after escaping from its cage in a private villa while a baboon was found wandering around Garden City.
And in February, a picture of a tiger hanging out of the window of a car driving in the Marina Promenade area proved a major hit on social networking websites.
Over a day the picture became a social media trend and was tagged a “top image” by Twitter.
Last year, UAE residents were warned they face a fine of up to AED50,000 and six months in jail if they flout laws on selling and owning endangered species.
The warning from the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) came just weeks after a UAE man was arrested at Bangkok International Airport after his suitcases were found to be filled with endangered animals.
The animals, which included baby leopards, panthers, a bear and monkeys, had been drugged and were bound for Dubai, anti-trafficking group FREELAND Foundation said.