x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Escaped cheetah to undergo surgery

The cat, thought to be about 10 months old, was caught limping around the residential area of Al Karamah.

The young cheetah found wandering in the capital on Sunday is being kept in quarantine at the Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre.
The young cheetah found wandering in the capital on Sunday is being kept in quarantine at the Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre.

ABU DHABI // The cheetah found roaming the streets of the capital on Sunday is to undergo surgery on its broken paw.

The cat, thought to be about 10 months old, was found limping around the residential area of Al Karamah.

Ronel Barcellos, director of the Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre, where the female cheetah is being kept under quarantine, said it was malnourished, underweight and in bad condition.

Dr Nicolas Terraz, of the British Veterinary Centre, carried out X-rays and an examination on Sunday while the cheetah was sedated. Its teeth were in good condition but X-rays confirmed the cat's carpal bone, in the left front paw, was fractured in three places. The cat will also be treated for ear mites.

In a letter to the wildlife sanctuary, Dr Terraz said the broken bone was important to the overall use of the leg.

All of the cheetah's front claws had been removed. "It is inhumane to do this," Ms Barcellos said. "The digit is a part of the body and she is in severe pain,"

It was unclear how long the animal had been loose, but it was believed it was living on the roof of a villa. It was found with a heavy chain around its neck.

The police captured the animal and handed it over the wildlife centre.

Ms Barcellos did not want to speculate how the animal injured her paw or how she managed to escape. "The owner must produce a Cites [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species] report for exporting from the country it came from and a Cites report from here," she said.

The owner can be prosecuted if he fails to produce these papers. In the past, sentences have been passed down to owners of illegally obtained animals, including baboons and hyenas.

eharnan@thenational.ae