The United Arab Emirates has finally banned its citizens from keeping exotic animals as pets—and instituted punishments ranging from $136,000 in fines to extensive jail time.

The UAE has long been a hub of wildlife trade, and owning animals like lions, tigers, or cheetahs has been viewed as a sign of status or privilege.

The Law on Regulation of Ownership of Dangerous Animals now states that “only zoos, wildlife parks, circuses, breeding and research centers are entitled to keep wild or exotic animals”, which – though such institutions have exhibited problematic treatment of animals – is still considered a huge victory for animal advocates. The legislation will ensure swift judicial action for any kind of civilian caught trading or harboring illegal species.

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Should an animal be used to attack, terrorize, or kill another person, the owner responsible will face anywhere from 3 years to a lifetime in prison. Simply taking a volatile animal out in public will result in a fine upwards of $2,500.

Animal rights officials have encouraged the federal government in the US. to follow suit since it is still legal to own a tiger in eight different states: North Carolina, Alabama, Delaware, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Stay Fierce: Click To Share With Your Friends (Photo by Bardhi Biloshmi Gallery)

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