x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Cats can return to the wild

A reader says it is possible that lions and other large cats held in captivity in the UAE can be trained to returned to the wild. Other topics: speed cameras, marriage, North Korea and Tunisian values.

Big cat trainer, Rob Punton who wants to set up a project here to train captive animals. This is likely to be controversial as many people think there should be minimum contact with humans, quite apart from the safety issues. He says training improves big cat health and welfare and can assist programmes to return specimens to the wild by teaching them to hunt. (Handout photos-courtesy Rob Punton) FOR COLIN SIMPSON STORY.
Big cat trainer, Rob Punton who wants to set up a project here to train captive animals. This is likely to be controversial as many people think there should be minimum contact with humans, quite apart from the safety issues. He says training improves big cat health and welfare and can assist programmes to return specimens to the wild by teaching them to hunt. (Handout photos-courtesy Rob Punton) FOR COLIN SIMPSON STORY.

Police on patrol will reduce the accident rate

As Cutting-edge cameras to aid crackdown on rogue drivers (April 8) points out, speed cameras properly placed can and do save lives.

In the UK, speed cameras started out as a safety measure and to collect evidence in cases of people driving through red lights.

However, all too soon they simply became Treasury revenue-raisers - especially when coupled with reduced speed limits on open roads.

In England's County Durham, the chief constable did not approve the installation of any speed cameras; he spent the money on roving police patrols. As a result, traffic accident injury statistics in that county are among the lowest in the UK.

The presence of a policeman makes motorists think twice.

I also believe that the only really effective measure against speeding is incarceration. A penalty of one day in jail for every kilometre per hour over the limit would teach even the most recalcitrant driver the error of his or her ways.

Peter Nixon, Abu Dhabi

Love, not money, makes a marriage

I refer to Ayesha Al Khoori's blog post, Dawn of the Dh8m wedding: how egos triumph love in UAE's modern marriages (April 1).

In my home country of India, families have been known to set fire to their daughter-in-law if they cannot get a bigger dowry from her family. Others burn their own daughters because the cost of a wedding would be a burden.

It is strange that many people do not understand that money doesn't make a marriage. Marriages that take place because of money usually fail, ending up in divorce or abuse.

We can make this a better world if we marry for the sake of love and not materialistic gain.

Moiz SA, Sharjah

Referee attack disappointing

The attack on the assistant referee during the Al Ain-Al Ahli game (Storm brewing, April 7) was sad.

Were there no cameras on the spectators to determine who threw what, from where and when?

Jim Buckingham, Abu Dhabi

North Korea has crossed the line

I don't like war, but North Korea has to be stopped now (To the brink, but no farther, April 8).

What is going to happen when they have a deliverable nuclear warhead?

They can't feed their people, but they spend their money on weapons programmes. Where does this money come from? What do they make and what do they sell?

I think North Korea has gone too far. They are even being admonished by Russia and China.

Soon, I hope, they will have no support at all.

Frank Burkhardt, US

Protest doesn't reflect values

There is a disconnect between the general population in Tunisia and the women who protest by taking their clothes off (Topless Tunisian fears for her life, April 8).

It is nothing more than a stunt to upset the social sensibilities in that country.

There are many ways of protesting, but to opt for this crude method is a statement that their attitude towards what is right and what's wrong is informed by a western norm.

Joe Burns, Dubai

Big cats can be returned to wild

Way back in 1963, George Adamson taught a totally domesticated lion called Elsa to hunt, raise cubs and live in the wild.

This story was told in a book called Born Free and its sequels.

So the expert quoted in Can training, and a brush, release the inner beast? (April 5) may not be quite right in saying that big cats cannot be returned to the wild.

Surely, improving and enriching the lives of the big cats in this region is a separate issue to smuggling. It is at least better than them ending up in Chinese medicine.

I think it is a worthy goal to see if it is possible to return big cats to the wild. Or will big cats just have to get used to living in small cages?

R Ivor, Dubai

Thank you Peter Scarlet for your well-worded letter, Captive cats need freedom, not training with brush (April 7). I couldn't have put it better myself.

Sadly, the long-standing trend for keeping wild and endangered animals as pets seems no closer to being stopped.

The thought of someone offering to "train" these poor creatures and torment them even further adds insult to injury.

Claire Wyness, Abu Dhabi