UAE | Environment

Iguana stoned to death by youths in Safa Park

Outcry as pregnant reptile is brutally killed in full view of park-goers

  • By Bassma Al Jandaly, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 21:30 March 22, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Courtesy: Friends of Animal
  • The carcass of an Iguana on a tree with its eggs hanging down near Safa Park.

Dubai: The senseless killing and mutilation of a docile iguana near Safa Park has outraged neighbours in the Jumeirah 1 area and prompted Dubai animal advocacy group Friends of Animals to request authorities to open an investigation.

Dubai Police on Friday said they will investigate when they receive an official complaint.

The pregnant female iguana, which neighbours say has lived in the park area unharmed for years, was laying eggs earlier this week when it was attacked by a group of youths after they had forced the animal to the ground at the corner of 55 street and the service road along Shaikh Zayed Road at Safa Park near Gate 5.

Witnesses alleged that a man in the area at the time was also involved in the killing.

After the killing, the disembowelled body of the lizard was found hanging from a tree but it was later taken down and buried.

Incensed neighbours said the gentle green giants have always been peaceful additions to the Safa Park area.

Residents informed Montserrat Martin, founder of Friends of Animals, who has since requested a formal investigation from the Ministry of Environment and Water in Abu Dhabi on the grounds that the incident was illegal because cruelty against animals is prohibited under UAE law.

"This particular incident serves as good example of mindless cruelty to animals and can help raise awareness to prevent such behaviour,” Martin said.

“Under the UAE Criminal Code, to harm an animal for no reason is a criminal offence,” Martin told Gulf News in an interview on Friday. “These are living animals and they deserve the respect of humans.”

A former employee with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the United Kingdom, Martin said her organisation will legally pursue the matter with the proper authorities.

A resident of Shaikh Ahmed Golden Villas, meanwhile, spoke of her anger in a written account of the incident sent to Friends of Animals.

The resident was livid after her daughter witnessed the killing of the animal while on a walk with the family’s housemaid near their home.

“My daughter witnessed all those present throwing stones and rocks at the iguana,” her account said.

“It was alive and attempting to escape. One of the boys caught the animal by its tail and threw it. She saw the security guard pick up a very large rock and bring it down on the iguana. The stoning continued despite my daughter’s cries for mercy; she shouted at them repeatedly to stop. When she was ignored, she ran home for help. She arrived home extremely distraught by what she had witnessed.”

When other neighbours heard of the incident, they ran to the scene to try and intervene.

The woman said when her neighbours arrived they chased the boys away but it was too late to save the animal.

“Having lived on the edge of the park for the last 11 years, we have had several sightings of these quiet, vegetarian lizards,” the resident said.

“They have lived peacefully here for years. We guess from the evidence that she had crossed the road to lay her eggs in the sand. My family, neighbours and I cannot get over the senseless and barbaric way this poor creature died — it leaves me utterly dismayed.”

According to UAE Animal Welfare Law, it is illegal to kill any animal in a merciless way, to use slow death means or to cause the animal severe pain without any acceptable reason or rational justification, a police official told Gulf News on Friday.

Police said that the family who witnessed the killing of the animal should report it, adding that such behaviour is not acceptable.

“Anyone may report to the concerned authority about any violations of this law,” police said.

“Police, the municipality or any other concerned authorities will investigate the violations and take necessary action.”

Comments (26)

  1. Added 16:42 March 23, 2013

    It's OK to kill becase you fear something you don't know?? I don't think so. People get your facts straight please.

    Cristina, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 16:41 March 23, 2013

    Hello there, mostly humans are not the type of national geographic or discovery channel wild program host, who can care for animals reptiles and can pick them and then take into their bed and sleep with them, its a lizard and all are scared from it and people had done what they think was appropriate to do at that time.People come in safa park to have a peaceful time with their kids family, no one will come in open ZOO. If everyone really have respect for animal then why they just saw that reptile getting killed, why he/she didn’t informed the authority earlier to keep this reptile in possession. I guess we should keep care of all living beings and most importantly HUMANS should be cared more.!!!!

    Sheraz, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 16:40 March 23, 2013

    Killing an animal is injustified, and wrong. There are NO excuses.

    cristina, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 15:23 March 23, 2013

    it's silly how everyone is now lamenting the death of the iguana who didnt belong there in the first place...safa park is a public park and not exactly a game reserve and therefore the iguana did not belong there...harmless or otherwise. The boys were obviously intimidated by the sight and did what thet believed right as they would had they seen a snake. The responsibilty of its death lies with the 'concerned' people who saw it before and did nothing to report it to the authorities so it could be appropriately rehabilitated!

    savio menezes, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 15:23 March 23, 2013

    protect our nature and inhabitants is our responsibilty .cruelty against helpless creatures is a part of unciviliced culture.

    Hariff Kallungal, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 15:19 March 23, 2013

    It is not acceptable for individuals like this to be apart of a tolerant society when they have no tolerance for one of God's creations and to allow it to die under such hostile circumstances. No one ever thought of the years of service this magnificent being gave to park goers by taking care of the mosquito population and other insects that would ravage a park and its' beauty. God created this creature with the ability to grow back a broken tail, should we not appreciate such a creature that God made so unique? It is not a monster but rather monsters killed it.

    Annie Moss, dxb, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 14:35 March 23, 2013

    this does not surprise me at all. I have had experience like this by myself. Walking our dog in the area where we have lived in Abu Dhabi, kids came running and start throwing stones on my dog then at me as well. We both got injured, now our dog does not tolerate kids running behind her or away from her.

    SausK, Kuwait, Kuwait

  8. Added 14:01 March 23, 2013

    Parents of these boys should teach their childrens how to respect and protect our nature and it's inhabitants.

    Hariff Kallungal, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 13:42 March 23, 2013

    there's no need to place a notice to the public that there are wild animals on the park... it is common sense to respect other living creatures such as this gentle giant.. it doesn't take a higher education to respect life, but rather a big heart and a human brain, these people who killed the gentle giant have none.. and they're no worthy to dwell in a society ruled by a great leader...

    McCoy, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 13:10 March 23, 2013

    Sad, very sad.

    CP, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

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