Dubai police on hunt for 'big cat' after sighting
Dubai Police said on Tuesday that a hunt was underway for a wild animal on the loose in a residential neighbourhood, after reports that an escaped big cat was on the prowl.
As a video of a sleek black cat circulated on social media groups, residents of The Springs community were warned to "exercise all necessary caution".
"Dubai Police today reassured the community that it is taking all measures to minimise any potential danger to people from a wild animal that was spotted" in the neighbourhood, the Dubai Media Office said.
"Trained professionals are currently conducting an extensive search to locate and capture the animal," it tweeted.
The Nation newspaper quoted a vet as saying that the creature appeared to be a young black leopard or panther.
"We have been looking for the animal since it was allegedly spotted by a resident this morning," a security guard told the daily.
Despite heavy penalties against owning or trading wildlife, private zoos are not uncommon in the United Arab Emirates.
The investigative site Bellingcat said in a report earlier this year that the trade persists, partly driven by celebrities who "continue to show off their tigers, cheetahs and monkeys" in social media posts.