Screenshot of video showing the caracal after it was found Image Credit: Snapchat/@uae_lionking

Fujairah: A caracal cat that was spotted roaming a residential area in Fujairah has been found, the Fujairah Environment Authority (FEA) said on Tuesday.

@uae_lionking/Jassim Ali, owner of Ras Al Khaimah Zoo

The owner, “an animal husbandry enthusiast”, has been fined for keeping an animal classified in red list of the international CITES agreement to protect endangered plants and animals from the threats of international trade. The Caracal, a medium-sized wild cat, is on the list.

CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which UAE follows.

Stock pic of caracal shared by FEA
Stock pic of caracal shared by FEA Image Credit: Supplied

On Tuesday, FEA said that as soon as they received a video showing the caracal, its teams “moved quickly” to track the animal and investigate the circumstances.

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They determined the location where the clip was taken, in cooperation with the local community and the competent authorities. The caracal was taken into possession by the FEA in a the mountainous area of Fujairah where it was seen.

It was found that the caracal belonged to an animal husbandry enthusiast. The animal’s owner cooperated with FEA and acknowledged his ignorance of this type of animal and the extent of its importance. He had mistakenly thought it was among the types of pet cats that are allowed to be owned and raised.

In turn, FEA contacted Ras Al Khaimah Zoo, which expressed its full cooperation in receiving the animal, dealing with it safely and providing the appropriate environment for it.

Aseela Moalla, director of Fujairah Environment Authority, said the FEA has specialised teams to deal with such cases of animal reports, which are taken seriously in order to preserve the security and safety of the environment, humans and animals.

She explained that there are local and federal laws that prohibit the acquisition or trade in certain types of animals according to a list classified under the red category of the CITES agreement. Based on that, legal measures were taken by the Authority against the owner of the animal. The fine resulting from owning or possessing dangerous animals ranges from Dh10,000 to Dh500,000.

The caracal is one of the rare wild cat species in the country that takes shelter in the Hajar mountain range. It’s a predatory cat that can jump up to 10 feet in the air to catch its prey. It also plays an important role in its ecosystems, as its presence is a positive indicator of the general environmental health of the emirate of Fujairah.

The Fujairah Environment Authority called on owners of dangerous animals to register them with the authority as soon as possible, and to report sightings of animals or any environmental complaints via the toll-free number 800368.