Cheetah captured in Al Karamah

No one is reported hurt; the injured animal apparently escaped from a home in the area, wildlife officials say.

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ABU DHABI // An adolescent cheetah was found wandering the streets of Al Karamah this morning, an animal welfare official said.

The animal had a broken paw and was wearing a restraint chain that had snapped. It was unclear how long it had been loose, but no one was hurt, said Raghad Auttabashi of the Al Rahma Welfare and Rescue Society. She said the cheetah had been living on the roof of a villa.

"Obviously, the cheetah tried to escape because the chain was broken. And then it jumped [from the roof] because its paw was broken as well."

She said people in the neighbourhood were nervous because the cheetah was hissing at them. But, she said, that was simply because it was scared, and not out of aggression.

Ms Auttabashi said she was first notified about the loose cheetah by a friend who was dropping her children off at school in the neighborhood.

As she went to investigate, she called the Wildlife Association, a semi-governmental agency responsible for non-domestic animals.

When she arrived, she said, police and pest control officers – normally responsible for rounding up stray cats and rats – were already on the scene. Although she insisted that they wait for wildlife officials to arrive, the cheetah was loaded into a cage in the pest control van.

She said she stood in front of the van to keep it from leaving, and after discussing the situation with police officers, everyone went to the Khalidiya police station, where the animal was handed over to the Wildlife Association.

It was unclear where the eight-month-old animal may have been purchased, but she said exotic pets are available at certain Northern Emirates souks and online.