After years of pressure from animal welfare groups, the United Arab Emirates’ FNC (Federal National Council) passed a law Jan. 4, 2017, to stop individuals from owning, trading, and breeding wild animals, including cheetahs and other big cats, which are popular pets in this country. The national law caries tough penalties for those who do not comply, including large fines – up to $136,000 — and up to six months in jail. The new law is effective immediately and owners are required to hand over their pets to the authorities within six months.
In 2011 the emirate of Ajman banned owning wild animals, exotic pets, and reptiles. In November 2014 the emirate of Sharjah banned the trade and possession of exotic wild animals. Under the new law, ownership and trade of are forbidden throughout each of the country’s emirates. But in several neighboring Gulf States, cheetahs have not been outlawed as exotic pets, so CCF must continue its mission to educate people on the devastating effects of this practice on the species.