As Dubai grew prosperous and rich so did their demand for absolutely ridiculous tastes in what constitutes ‘status symbol’. The excessive wealth afforded to most Arabs from the Gulf States pushes them down a path of weird obsessions with endangered wild animals. Apparently, it’s cool to own and show off a cheetah or a Saker falcon to show off your riches to the rest of the society.
The growing population of human beings and their disproportionately high demands from the earth has already started taxing resources from wild animals, pushing them to the brink of extinction – and now this growing trend to adopt endangered wild animals is definitely going to be the final nail in the coffin. Think of it this way, cheetahs, an exotic cat have already lost 90% of their total population to because of our growing needs – recent estimates pin their number down to a mere 7000 in the wild. Add to that the bizarre need to show off cheetahs to the rest of the world and we have a real problem in our hands.
Most of these cheetahs are imported from African countries such as Ethiopia and illegally smuggled across Somalia and Yemen to the UAE where they become little more than playthings for rich brats with too much time on their hands.
These cheetahs are often paraded around the street of Dubai, often times there is no leash on them; because the owners are too haughty to imagine the wild animal rebelling against their authority. They are forced to pose around their supercars and the pictures are then uploaded to social media sites for thousands of visitors to gawk at. Even the crown prince of Dubai, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum regularly posts pictures of himself with his ‘pet’ lion – only encouraging the population to pick up from where the royalty has left.
The kind of diet that wildlife provides to cheetahs cannot be justifiably replicated by unqualified private owners; and so many of these exotic cats are treated to a diet that doesn’t behoove their needs and end up facing extreme malnourishment. Their poor diet contributes to various illnesses resulting in their bodies eventually becoming sick because of the inadequate diet.
What follows after is getting discarded by their proud owners – in the hands of veterans who administer euthanasia, bringing a sad end to a proud animal.
Beacon Of Hope
After succumbing to years of pressure from various watchdog and animal welfare groups, the UAE eventually banned the practice of owning exotic cats in January 2017, penalizing wealthy owners $136,000 in fines or face jail time of up to six months. Activists can finally take a sigh of relief to know that cheetahs won’t be subjected to such brutality by private citizens in the UAE ever again – at least not lawfully.
Owners were given six months to hand over banned animals to the authorities before the law could be applied to them. It stands to reason that most of these animals have been safely returned back to the wild.