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Cats and the city: Escaped lioness 'prowls' Dubai shopping-strip Open in fullscreen

Karim Traboulsi

Cats and the city: Escaped lioness 'prowls' Dubai shopping-strip

Retail therapy? The lioness reportedly escaped into one of Dubai's glitziest shopping districts [AFP]

Date of publication: 26 January, 2016

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It took two Dubai police patrols and a team of vets to capture the 4-month-old lioness, who escaped from a private home where she was being kept as a pet.

On Thursday, a lioness escaped from a home in the Dubai neighbourhood of al-Barsha, home to the glitzy Mall of the Emirates, prowling the street for several hours, according to local newspapers.

Luckily, the carnivorous Jumeirah Jane did not attack anyone and no one was hurt during her capture, which apparently required the help of two patrols of the al-Barsha police station and specialists from Dubai Municipality.

The four-month-old African-breed kitty is said to be now at the Dubai Zoo.

Dubai Police had said the police operations room received calls from several people to inform that they had spotted the lioness wandering the streets near al-Barsha. 

The oddest thing about the episode, however, was that the animal had reportedly been kept in a private home as a pet, before it decided to go sightseeing in the cosmopolitan Arabian metropolis.

Three people have since been reportedly charged with public endangerment over the incident.

Abu Dhabi's state-run The National newspaper reported on Tuesday that the owner of the lioness, the buyer and a middleman have been charged after the lioness escaped.

While it's illegal to keep endangered or threatened wildlife as pets in the United Arab Emirates, The National, quoting unnamed officials, said that "exceptions are made for members of the ruling family or anyone who has official authorisation and a permit."

Keeping wild animals as pets is seen as a status symbol in some Gulf Arab states, according to AFP.

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