Authorities remove lions, pythons, crocodiles from Sharjah residences

Four lions, a lioness, three pythons, and two crocodiles have been removed from residences in Sharjah this year by the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA).

Hana Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the EPAA, emphasised that the removal of the animals is in keeping with the directives of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, regarding confiscation of predator and dangerous animals and providing them with suitable environments.

The decree of prohibition and confiscation of predators and dangerous animals in the Emirate of Sharjah imposes a fine of AED100,000 on the owners of predatory animals that are determined to be a danger to other people in the vicinity. However, owners will not have to pay the fine if they voluntarily hand over their predatory animals, she explained.

Only three people voluntarily handed over their animals since the beginning of 2016, following the enactment of the law. She also said that the first phase of establishing the Predators Shelter and Care Center on 27,000 square kilometers of land in Sharjah Desert Park has begun.

Al Suwaidi indicated that the authority is seeking the issuance of a new federal law in the UAE to ban and confiscate predators from residences. Those who fail to do so would face a fine of AED 30,000, or a one month prison sentence for each animal.

The penalties are meant to highlight and enforce UAE’s laws to protect exotic animals and ban the illegal trade of critically endangered animals, as part of the country’s enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The owner of these animals will be monitored for one to two months before the confiscation, after being granted permission by the prosecutors, in collaboration with the Sharjah Police and its task group.