SHARJAH // A cheetah sparked panic in Sharjah yesterday afternoon when it was spotted wandering through the city’s streets at prayer time.
Worshippers saw the creature near the Radisson Blu hotel in the Al Mujjarrah area, pacing near a mosque.
A local shop owner Abu Baker Karim said onlookers were unable to identify it straight away but knew it was dangerous.
He said: “As soon as I saw it I knew it was dangerous and had to run away. People were saying it was a tiger, others said it was a leopard and others said it was a cheetah."
Sharjah Police cordoned off the area, but, according to resident Mohammed Khan, who watched from the window of his nearby apartment, officers ended up playing a game of “hide and seek” with the big cat while they tried to capture it.
“We could tell it was not an easy arrest,” he said. “For about 20 minutes they were taking positions surrounding it, and it twice jumped out the circle.”
According to Lt Col Ahmad bin Darwish, of Anjad Police, it was not clear where the cheetah came from or who owned it.
Ahmed, another local resident, said the cheetah, which was handed over to the Arabian Wildlife Centre, was first spotted swimming behind the mosque.