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Escaped Tiger Takes Stroll On Qatar Highway

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Footage of a tiger wandering around a packed highway in northern Qatar has gone viral. The remains of a chain dangle from its neck in the video, indicating that the big cat is a pet.

A second video shows the animal initially falling out of the back of a truck, and local Al-Watan news agency posted footage of a docile and stubborn tiger being recaptured to Twitter.

Keeping exotic pets, especially big cats, is extremely popular across Gulf states. In Qatar the practice is illegal, and in recent years the Qatari Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has published warnings against it. However local websites regularly host adverts for cheetahs and lions especially, with price tags of up to 40,000 Qatari Riyals (about $11,000).

In a statement on its Facebook page in 2014, the MOI highlighted the wild nature of the beasts.

These hobbies involve serious consequences as the responsibility of the person who pets them goes beyond to other people that reside in the neighborhood or the area as well as those [who] visit parks or open recreational areas. It as well [amounts to a] violation of the prevailing laws that prevent terrorizing innocent people or frightening them.

“These animals cannot be trusted as they are by nature wild and this wild nature cannot be changed by home environment.”

The Al-Sharq newspaper has subsequently reported that the animal had been placed in the care of ‘competent authorities’, and that legal action is to be taken against the owner. The man faces a fine of between QR1,000 and QR10,000 and up to six months in jail.

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