Watch: A young girl takes her pet cheetah for a stroll on Saudi street
If you are thinking of taking your pet cheetah for a stroll, be prepared to face a SAR30 million fine…
It is not the first time that wild pets have been seen on the streets or in the backyards of Saudi homes. The footage of a young girl taking her pet cheetah for a stroll on Saudi street has gone viral.
In the video, the girl leaves a parked car along with a cheetah on a leash. She appears to be struggling to control the big cat after letting it out of the vehicle.
— ﮼بدر ﮼ناصر ﮼البراك (@b60_n) May 22, 2021
Status symbols for the rich
Cheetahs have always been symbols of wealth and power for noble and royal families who use them as pets or hunting companions.
Videos of lions appearing to jump on their owners playfully have been circulating in Saudi Arabia for years. Social media platforms, especially TikTok, are riddled with videos of lions, cheetahs and other wild animals being kept as pets. Often, the animals are smuggled into the Kingdom or secretly bred.
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According to Saudi Gazette, Saudis are paying over SAR25,000 for cheetahs listed for sale on social media networks, where people are able to buy or sell exotic animals without a license.
With a simple Google search, we found an online Saudi marketplace with cheetah listings, alongside car and mobile phone ads. A Riyadh-based cheetah seller was also advertising tigers and lion cubs.
The Saudi National Centre for Wildlife has repeatedly refused to provide licenses for ownership of exotic pets and warned that owners of predatory animals could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to SAR30 million.
“Importing predators for personal or commercial purposes is banned under a royal decree. The centre has not licensed any such imports,” it said in a statement. The centre urged keepers of wild animals to contact it to arrange their handover; otherwise, they will be liable to law.
The centre also called on Saudi citizens and expatriates to come forward and report about any case of rearing predators in urban areas.