The lion cub was found roaming between villas in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa City
Residents of the UAE don’t necessarily have to go on an African safari to see exotic animals. Sometimes they can just walk outside their front doors.
A lion cub was spotted roaming a neighborhood in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa City earlier this week.
The lost cub was wandering through villa driveways alone. Initially, residents were excited to see the adorable creature but quickly began to worry, leading them to call the police. But then the cub walked back to a villa where it was apparently staying.
“The lion was across the road and it walked back to the villa where it supposedly stays,” an eyewitness told The National.
Police came and talked with the villa owner but he told them that the lion cub had been sent to Dubai.
The UAE recently made it illegal to own, trade or breed exotic pets. The penalty for owning one of these animals now ranges from 10,000 dirhams ($2,723) to 700,000 dirhams ($190,574).
Ronel Barcellos, manager of Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre, followed up on the incident. She told The National that the police were still looking into the incident.
Barcellos explained that while the new law against wild animals is a great step in the UAE, there are still “gray areas.”
“We worked and have confiscated illegal animals before, and our center is geared to hold exotic animals until we find a solution,” she said.
Legally, animals must be transferred to a transitionary area, such as the Abu Dhabi Wildlife Center, prior to being sent to a zoo in the UAE.