The local environmental authorities in Saudi Arabia have seized eight lions and a wolf which were being kept illegally at a private house in the town of Al-Muzahimiyah in Riyadh province. According to media reports, the kingdom’s Special Forces for Environmental Security (SFES) explained that a Saudi citizen was arrested for possessing endangered wild animals.
— عكاظ (@OKAZ_online) November 14, 2022
Okaz reported the official spokesman for the SFES, Colonel Abdul Rahman Al-Otaibi, as saying that legal proceedings for the violation of environmental laws have been implemented and that the violator has since been referred to the Public Prosecutor. The animals, meanwhile, have been transferred to the National Centre for Wildlife Development.
Otaibi added that the penalty for possessing endangered wildlife illegally is either a fine of up to $8 million (30 million riyals) or imprisonment for up to 10 years or both. Despite the strict laws, rare and exotic animals routinely show up on social media in the kingdom and the Gulf region in unlicensed private collections and, in some cases, in the passenger seats of luxury cars.
In June, the SFES carried out a similar raid on a property in Riyadh city, which led to the arrest of another Saudi citizen for keeping three lions.