A young cheetah was captured by authorities in the Al Sakhama area, north of Doha, this week after it apparently fled from its owner, an official at the Ministry of Environment (MOE) has said.
The Department of Environmental Protection captured the three-month-old cub, put it in an iron cage and transferred it to wildlife authorities “to keep it in a safe place until (legal) procedures are completed,” according to a statement published by the MOE.
An official told Doha News that the animal’s owner is not known and that the case has been referred to the public prosecutor’s office for further investigation.
It is illegal in Qatar to keep wild animals captive. The perpetrator could face a maximum of six month in prison and a fine ranging from QR1,000 to QR10,000 under Qatari law.
The MOE official said that the cub didn’t cause much trouble for residents in the area because of its young age and the quick response from authorities, who rarely encounter such incidents:
“These incidents are not very common. We get complaints about them maybe every two or three years,” the official said. “It’s mostly common among some who collect (wild cats) as a hobby,” the official added.
This week’s case is the latest example of the ongoing challenges authorities face in curtailing the practice of keeping wild animals as pets in Qatar and elsewhere in the Gulf.
Photographs have been posted on social media over the years showing owners flaunting the big wild cats around town, sitting in the passenger seat of SUVs and speed boats.
Late last year, the property manager of The Pearl-Qatar, United Development Co. (UDC), confirmed to Doha News that a lion and a cheetah had been found in separate incidents on the artificial island.
”In both cases, UDC issued breach notices to the owners warning them to remove the animals immediately, and both animal pets were removed immediately,” UDC spokesman Roger Dagher said.
And in the past, Qatar Living has featured adverts for the sale of these potentially dangerous animals, with price tags of up to QR40,000.
Months ago, the Ministry of Interior reminded residents of the dangerous repercussions of keeping large, wild animals as pets.
The MOI noted that while some animals may appear domesticated, they are innately wild and can suddenly “turn” on their owner or another person nearby without warning. In a Facebook post, the ministry continued:
”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.”
Meanwhile, in July last 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 CITES warning came 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.
If anyone who can afford to buy a pet for QR40k, won’t struggle to pay the fine of 1-10k I guess…
He or she won’t struggle to pay for the money is right but what the 6 months jail terms if given.
Its not only the issue of fine, may cause to make problems or injuries to the public..
Shabina you look like a cockroach.
If the government is serious about prosecuting owners of these animals, they can check YouTube and other online platforms and they will see lots of them showing their pets without fearing any legal issues. Here is one that was reported two weeks ago in a car magazine in the US 🙂
i just checked the violations on that car it has 7000Qr fine and 7 black points from 2009 & 2010. and its road permit finished in Jan 2010. amazing that this car still runs around if the plates are for that car!!!! and IF the video is new!!
The article is two weeks old, but I haven’t checked the video itself. I will do it later from my computer and let you know. 🙂
It would be so simple (if they really wanted it): police car drives behind vehicle. Police checks the license online. Car permit is expired. Police stops vehicle and impounds car. I guess they don’t want it.
The video is from February this year 🙂
So this guy/gal also clearly has traffic violations that have not been paid and that has been pointed out in this public forum. It will be interesting to see if those are still unpaid a week from now. If so then quite clearly traffic violations are not followed up on for some and we should also buy a silly car with a oversized cat and drive around like right plonkers if we don’t want to have to pay fines EVER!
They can barely take care of themselves, probably have a maid to wipe their behinds so how do they get the impression that they can take care of an animal? I don’t understand. At least in UAE Emaratis still go hunting or deal with wild animals, but over here the only wild animal the owners deal with are in Play station or the teddy bear they still sleep with.
Keep hating, PEASANT!
Mature of you.
It’s as mature as the post it was addressing.
Not hating, criticizing.
Morons, your bus is leaving. Please board now.
Deleting for personal attack, and subsequent thread.
That’s not true the hunting culture here is very strong. But in neither case do people hunt wild cats, it’s usually falconry hunting or using hunting rifles for wild birds, rabbits or deers
IT may be strong, but limited to certain people only.
Hunting McDonalds & Baskin-Robbins?
Here’s an ad with a phone number and an email address – if authorities were bothered, for example if these were drugs not cats, then this would be an open and shut case: http://qatarcl.com/a,100682,African-Servals—Margay-kittens—Cheetah-Cubs—.htm
That’s one cute animal. Shame being kept as a pet. they are smuggled from Saudi who bring them mostly from Yeman/Africa.
There were two similar cases one involving a chimp and another a female lion .. Both were shot and killed
The owners or the poor animals? Who was shot?
Hope the owners although it might be the animals 🙁
I just feel great sorrow for these poor animals. I would feel the same in whichever country it happened.
Best case scenario, pet eats owner
LOVE your response…I hope more of these wild animals get hungry and go for a Las Vegas/Doha buffett frenzy.
Until then they will not understand the danger of keeping wild pets at home
No, unfortunately, the pet eats the maid.
Does the “government” have the guts to put the owners of these wild animals in a cage to go on public display and embarrassment ?…doubt it.
when you have a small penis and a HUGE belly one has to use a small baby animal to get noticed in their ‘fancy” car.. SHAME
Deleting for inappropriateness.
Trading an endangered animal could earn you less of a fine than running a red light in Qatar. Priorities = wrong.
Do you mean a human life should have less priority than an animal’s?! S Both lives are equally important and should be protected with the same.. harsher vigor!
No, don’t put words in my mouth.Trading an animal that is endangered of going extinct IS more important than a human life.
Are you seriously suggesting that we should place the human desire to have pets above the continuation of another species?
Yeah, I agree, the life on an endangered animal IS more important than YOUR life, not mine. That doesn’t mean, I don’t care about these animals, I do my best, I urge my organization and people under my wing to save and help out these animals and their habitats.
Don’t say things that even you don’t believe. If you care about animals, say that! Don’t say things just to show that you are better than others, cause you are not.
If I put a cheetah cub right beside you and point a gun at your head and say “its either you or this cheetah”, you will choose the cheetah in a heartbeat! Trust me. I know. My job has put me in front of countless gun points.
This is an issue the government needs to look upon seriously considering the danger of hurting or even killing foreign practitioners living here in qatar and their own citizen as well, should a locality or a foreigner loose his life to this wild pet or probably the owner of the pet being eaten by these pets, what would the whole world termed qatar to be…. BBC and CNN might describe it and the world see it as the ENDANGERED HOME. i plead to the government to do something on this wild pet of a thing, the fine is too small considering the cost of this pets and the jail terms should be given without appeal
It’s a problem in the region. I well remember visiting an office in Abu Dhabi ( local company), and the owner had a full sized Eagle perched in his office. Aside from the smell, and potential health hazard, another flagrant violation of wildlife laws. I’m sure it is a lot more common than most of us know.
Animal on the loose here? That’s a first.
They use cheetah for hunting in northern Qatar!
Is it just me or do these people seem to be compensating for other inadequacies?
‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated’…Mahatma Gandhi —
Fine of up to QR10K. Not much of a punishment for the theft of the planet’s heritage. Vanity will destroy the earth. Disgusting.