Keeping a big cat at home isn’t cool, it’s just plain cruel . It seems that for many youngpeople in the UAE and in other Gulf countries, posting pictures of their fancy cars online is no longer enough to show off their wealth or to seem “cool”.
Many pictures of young men with their big cats have been posted on Instagram, a social media website, in recent months. There are also videos of these men with their cheetah, lion and tiger pets, taken inside their homes or cars and even at swimming pools.
This Instagram trend has shed light on an important issue: the apparently increasingly popular practice of keeping exotic pets in households in the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.
The question is not just how many of these pets are legal, it is also why having such animals can be permitted, despite all the potentially negative consequences for both the animals and their owners.
Experts warn that the practice affects the well-being and conservation of wild animals and it poses health risks to their owners. These powerful animals can cause serious injuries and also transmit some diseases.
Most people who buy such animals have no idea how to take care of them and many of these animals do not even have medical records, suggesting that they were initially taken from their mothers and sold on the black market.