Updated at 4pm with statement from The Pearl-Qatar property managers UDC.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has issued a warning to Qatar residents of the dangers of illegally keeping large, wild animals as pets.
In a practice that’s popular among some segments of society in Qatar and across the Gulf region, wild cats – particularly cheetahs and lions – are favored as exotic pets.
Photographs have been posted on social media over the years showing the big cats around town, sitting in the passenger seat of SUVs and speed boats.
“@qatarnews: RT @iloveqatar: A photo of a Qatari with a cheetah in his cruiser made @thechive … http://t.co/3YJbrZSr” only in Qatar!!
— Claire White (@clairehardiman) November 7, 2012
Meanwhile, Qatar Living has in the past featured adverts for the sale of these potentially dangerous animals, with price tags of up to QR40,000.
However, as keeping wild animals as pets is against the law in Qatar, the MoI has recently taken to social media to warn residents of the potential repercussions of the hobby.
It particularly highlights the fact that while animals may appear domesticated, they are innately wild and can suddenly “turn” on their owner, keeper or another person nearby at any moment.
“These hobbies involve serious consequences as the responsibility of the person who pets them goes beyond to other people that reside in the neighborhood or the area as well as those (who) visit parks or open recreational areas. It as well (amounts to a) violation of the prevailing laws that prevent terrorizing innocent people or frightening them.
“These animals cannot be trusted as they are by nature wild and this wild nature cannot be changed by home environment,” The MoI says in a Facebook post.
The MoI signs off its post, asking for comments from residents on what they think should be done, saying: “We look forward to your feedback and suggestions regarding these type of behaviors and how to counter them.”
Meanwhile, rumors of wild cats being spotted as pets at The Pearl-Qatar were confirmed to Doha News by property manger United Development Co. (UDC).
However, it said it has “zero tolerance” for violations of its policies that prohibit exotic and wild animals from being kept within the island, adding it took swift action:
“In one case, a resident kept a lion cub in one of the towers, while in the second case, a cheetah was kept by a resident in a Viva Bahriya tower. In both cases, UDC issued breach notices to the owners warning them to remove the animals immediately, and both animal pets were removed immediately.
“The Lion cub case was dealt with successfully five months ago, immediately upon discovery of this violation, while we dealt successfully with the Cheetah case immediately upon finding out about it three months ago,” UDC spokesman Roger Dagher said in a statement to Doha News.
He said they had received no further reports of wild animals being kept as pets and added that the ministry’s rules would continue to be enforced on The Pearl:
“The Pearl-Qatar is a community in Qatar and is subject to the laws and regulations of the state of Qatar. Therefore, an MoI warning to this effect applies to all residents in Qatar, which necessarily includes all residents at the Pearl-Qatar,” Dagher continued.
The MoI’s warning has attracted considerable comment, particularly from residents who question the strength of enforcement behind the law in Qatar and call for tougher action at the border against smugglers as well as those who keep the animals.
In July this year, the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) called on governments in Qatar and the GCC to step up action against the fashion of raising these big cats as household pets.
It is illegal to internationally trade in live cheetahs, under Article III of the CITES Convention, which Qatar and other GCC countries have signed.
The report said that while some cheetahs may have been bred in captivity, the success rates of captive-bred cubs in the GCC region is low and says that most cheetah pets were likely procured illegally.
It called for the Gulf states to “significantly step up enforcement” measures at their borders as well as internally.
The warning comes just days after a Filipina housemaid in Kuwait died when she was attacked by a lion that was kept as a pet in the house in which she was working.
The woman was “attacked, bitten and parts of her eaten” after the lion apparently escaped when a driver tried to feed it.
She was hospitalized for her injuries but died several days later after she was released, the Kuwait Times reports.
A security source told the newspaper that the lion was one of several wild animals at the house and that the owner, a Kuwaiti citizen, refused to hand over the animals to the zoo.
He has been taken into custody, it was reported.
What would be your suggestions to MoI? Thoughts?
I hope the owner will be fined with blood money to give to her family and put in jail as well. How come a citizen can refuse to hand over the animals to the zoo? Is this a jungle?
it’s incredible how brainless these people are… do they have no concern or consideration for their family’s safety or anybody else living/working in their household?? if you love wild animals so much, take a trip to an African reserve and don’t come back!
Safety? Consideration? these two words don’t exist in their dictionary
having such animals is for showing off… a declaration their financial status , and lack of responsibility!
The MOI also issues warnings that dangerous driving can lead to serious accidents and that death on a long enough time scale is inevitable and citizens should take precautions.
In Qatar they are obssessed with censoring the Internet, imprisoming poets and locking people up for illicit relations none of which are dangerous yet can’t do anything about dangerous animals. It’s not hard to spot a guy driving with a cheetah in his car. Stop him, arrest him and take the animal off him! Do some real policing rather than issuing statements of the obvious!
they should go and build mansions and live there in the desert with lions and cheetahs.
So is there a hot line for whistleblowers? Clearly only wealthy Qataris own these illegal animals, smuggled illegally into the country. If they want a badass wild cat, just adopt a feral neutered Tom off the street, that should do the job nicely
Maybe the title should read large wild animals instead of lions? or is that quoted from some MOI post?
Wild animals should either be in the jungle or in the zoo and keeping them at home creates a serious risk of injury and death to the owner and the people around him. What happened in Kuwait was a real tragedy where a poor and helpless maid from the Philippines was exposed to danger and death because of the sheer carelessness of her employer and the employer even had the guts to tell the authorities that she was bitten by a dog. If wild animals are roaming around free or being kept in people’s homes it is because the authorities have turned a blind eye and allowed them to do so. Allowing this to continue and go on is like waiting for a very serious tragedy to happen and by doing so the employers and sponsors are putting the lives of their workers like drivers, maids and others at risk of death.
MOI = Captain Obvious? If you need a ministry to tell you that…….
In other important breaking news, the sun is hot and can burn your skin.
I once found myself in a wrestling match with a wild cheetah. I admit that after three martinis, I was really no match for her.
Maybe it was a cougar not a cheetah?
Did you get this from a Jim Davidson VHS?
Warnings? Suggestions? This is the rape of our planet to feed the vanity of those with more money than either sense or sensibility. No wild cat of any kind should exist outside it’s natural environment or a licensed zoo. It is an abomination that reflects on the society that tolerates it. Horrible horrible horrible..
I may be blue but I am tame. I honestly am 🙁
Seriously animals have wild instints and are potentially deadly.
Now to make full use of the cats here – have the drivers of Mr. Land cruiser (most at least) at a distance and let the cheetahs/cats chase them down – they’ll get the feeling I do when they come up to me and my family inches from my car bumper!!! The cats will get their exercise in the most hostile environment they are living (desert) and the roads will be safer.
You Fool !!
It’s the bloody cheetah driving the Landcruiser!
…..are you implying that they are animals or act like one (drivers that is)
If I was American…
I would plead the Fifth!
Their land, their rules. But the wild animals know no rules. The end. Rip rules of the land.
Not just Their rules- it violates International Law
it is said that a dog knows not its owner because when it gets wild it attacks anyone around talk more of keeping a cheetah or a lion as a pet. this white garment guys believe in their money and thinks they can do anything without thinking about the later effect. the police are busy jailing people who did not that was contrary to the law and cannot stop their citizens from endangering their lives and that of others, so what are they doing as their job? only deporting labourers who strike because of the bad nature given to them by their employees. last month a guy whose Qatar permit was expired and was delayed by his company for renewal was arrested and sent back to his country but the company, we never heard what happened to them at last. who is fooling who?
These “guys with white garments” are the reason you and your family are having food on the table. Stop spitting in the hand that feeds you and show some respect. If you have a point to make, make it in a respectable manner.
By whose standard of respect should one operate? Yours? You certainly don’t think it is your place to make that determination do you? My answer to you is that my family has food on the table due to our hard work and education. Those ‘guys in white garments’ are mere employers, nothing more. It isn’t like they are handing out charity, is it?
YES! we all work for the money but still unfair to generalize. + what is the percentage of the local that keep wild animals at home? 5, 10, 20, 30…. to now generalize the whole country is unfair. I agree law enforcement agency/government need to do more to protect all in Qatar…
Probably 1% or less…
I meant to say number of people and not percentage of the general citizen Mr. Osama. Of course I know is impossible for. 10, 20 or 30% of the population to own wild animals, nobody will work on d street if that happen. LOL
1% out of 300,000 is 3,000 …Maybe 0.025% is more accurate, 75 people.
At least I am thankful for what I have. A lot of people work harder than you and are more educated than you yet still struggle to make ends meet. Your arrogance is disgusting. And if you see them as mere “employers”, employers that without them your family would starve to death, then I am dying to know what these “employers” think of you.
I too am thankful for what I have, I worked hard to earn it – it wasn’t a gift. I am very aware that there are many out there more capable than me earning less, just as there are those less capable earning more. The world is unjust, I acknowledge that.
You have an interesting view of employers. Employers are temporary, you replace them every few years. Qatar gets old quickly, when it does one moves on to other opportunities. That is the way it is.
Of course it wasn’t a gift and I am not trying to take away your hard work.
Oddly I agree with you on every point you laid out. Qatar is temporary for many of us, make a quick buck and get the heck out of here (that is why some locals don’t like us) and you can’t blame them. It is the same situation with immigrants in Canada or Australia they stick it out for a few, get the citizenship and take off.
All I’m saying is that be grateful for the opportunity Qatar gave you.
While I agree that for some Qatar is a good stepping stone to other positions and experiences in other countries, sadly, for many, it is a career-killer. At the end of the day, for me, it is a job – worse than most, better than many. I feel no more no grateful for it than I would for any other job. There is no reason why I should. I certainly feel no loyalty or attachment to Qatar.
when you are washing your hand the two palms wash each other cos you cant wash only one. no man is an island, Qatar should be grateful for the chance they have to acquire my service if I should thank them for offering me a dough nut paid job. in many countries their labour force is being highly occupied by the citizens so if Qatar gets angry they should send everyone home and lets see how they will do the job alone
Your kidding ….we can leave and work elsewhere pal. We did after 2 years of trying to forgive their arrogant, slave trading , human right abusing ways. I owe Qataris not a damn thing, and you have to earn respect, something they think comes from wearing a white sheet and a Gutra…you are a fool my man.
Listen “pal”, nobody asked you to try to forgive anyone. That being said, my respect towards you slightly increased knowing that you put your money where your mouth is and left.
You say you owe Qatari’s nothing, yet the likes of you get upset and angry when immigrants travel to our countries and take advantage of our social systems and remain ungrateful. You sir are a outright hypocrite.
Just out of curiosity, where did you head to after Qatar? And why do you still follow Qatari news?
The difference is that they are immigrants and they are exploiting the system that has given them the opportunity of citizenship. No such relationship exists with Qatar, it is a job, and like any job you take as much as you can from it, as the employer gets as much as they can from you.
Qatar, unlike the UAE, does a very poor job of making the foreign workforce feel welcome and invested in the society. When I hear the Qatari Emir make some of the same pronouncements as I have heard from the UAE leadership I may reconsider my position. Until then, workers owe Qatar nothing more than the work that they are paid to do.
There are lots of people who follow foreign news, why is that unusual?
He’s in Australia, and has already vowed to come back! Don’t listen to this clown, nowhere in the world would employ him, and this unfortunately does highlight another aspect of Qatar’s many failures, in this case hiring trash as “experts”.
What a troll he is! And don’t get me started in the “experts”…
Starve to death? A bit hyperbolic, but I get your drift…Equally, why don’t we ask a few people what they think of the wisdom of the choice to make the country completely dependent on mercenary labor for everything from medical care to the security services? It is a two-way street, the country cannot function without the foreign labor – period. The difference is, when the foreign labor is tired of Qatar, it packs up and moves on to greener pastures. When Qatar is tired of the foreign labor, well, what can be done?
BTW, I don’t see how you could have considered my comment ‘arrogant’.
its absolutely unfair to generalize Mr. harrypotter. I have a local friend who will never keep rabbit in his house talk less of a lion. Be fair with people around you in behavior and in commenting on national issues.
This is such a bizarre article. The Ministry is advising that wild cats can kill so please maybe don’t keep them in your house or drive around with one in the car. What????? This is illegal. Owning them is illegal. Shipping them here is illegal. The whole trade is illegal. Next thing, the Ministry might post advice that alcohol can impair your driving performance, or be frowned on if you drink it in the Mall…. You really cannot make this stuff up
yes but it’s against the law but not really against the law but kind of against the law – like speeding – or seatbelts – or a whole bunch of other things…
Simply weird – another case of macho inadequacy? like the speeding and “look at me” cars? obviously very small…