Photo for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives.

Cairo: A video circulating on social media, showing a wolf wandering in a garden allegedly in Saudi Arabia, has sparked a debate.

The animal is seen in the footage walking in what seemed to be a deserted garden, generating a lot of online feedback.

“I don’t think it’s wild,” said a commentator. “The wild [wolf] doesn’t go to towns. I think it is being kept by a person and left its cage in one way or another due to the flash floods,” he added, referring to recent flooding resulting from heavy rains in some areas of Saudi Arabia. “What matters now is to keep it alive.”

The wolf was reportedly seen in Al Sulfi governorate in central Riyadh.

“It is clearly tamed, well-reared and clean,” said another commentator. “It seems it was let by its keeper to do a walk.”

There was no immediate comment from Saudi authorities.

In recent years, incidents involving wild animals in Saudi Arabia were reported on social media.

Last March, an online video went viral showing a lion bleeding after being run over by a car in the capital Riyadh.

At the time, the Saudi Special Forces for Environmental Security (SFES) said the lion was hurt after a car hit it in Riyadh and the animal was handed over to the National Wildlife Centre.

In 2021, Saudi authorities warned against illegal rearing of predators after a lion mauled its keeper to death in Riyadh.

The environment system in Saudi Arabia bans dealing in endangered animals including keeping and displaying them. Violations are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of SR30 million.

The illegal purchase of wild animals is believed to have thrived due to social media where they are marketed.