Latest: 'Chiselled jaw, big shoulders and long tail' - Dubai resident tells of encounter with big cat
The search continued on Wednesday for an exotic wild animal on the loose after a suspected sighting in a Dubai suburb a day earlier.
Dubai Police officers used drones to scan the Springs neighbourhood, south of Dubai Marina, after apparent sightings by residents of a 'large black cat'.
Authorities advised members of the community to exercise caution around what was believed to be a wild cat and to call 999 if they spot it.
Officials said they were taking the reports seriously and had deployed police and municipal officials to investigate, but urged the public not to panic.
In tweets posted by Dubai Media Office, police said bringing any kind of wild animal into a public environment was strictly prohibited under the emirate’s laws.
Anyone found guilty can face a jail term of up to six months and severe financial penalties.
Dubai Police also urged the public to call 901 if they see the animal.
Security staff and municipality vehicles were seen searching the area when
The National visited.
“We have been looking for the animal since it was allegedly spotted by a resident this morning,” a security guard said.
“Dubai Municipality officers also came to the Springs 3. Security guards are in the area and we are trying to find it.”
Animal experts said the animal appeared to be a jaguar or panther after they viewed purported footage of it.
Sara Elliott, founder of the British Veterinary Hospital, said it appeared to be a young black leopard or panther.
“Without specifically seeing the full size of the animal or a close-up, it’s impossible to say which breed it is," she said.
“Leopards are smaller in size – adults only reach about 30 kilograms – so it appears to be in line with that kind of sizing.”
The world's amazing animals - in pictures
Two bull elephants are seen at Ol Donyo lodge in the foothills of the Chyulu Hills, bordering the Chyulu Hills National Park in the east of the Amboseli ecosystem, Kenya. Tusk via AP Images
A tiger looks straight into a remote camera installed in a forest in western Thailand. Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation / EPA
Cheetah mother Afra looks at her four little cubs at their enclosure at the zoo in Vienna, Austria. AP Photo
An earth bumblebee sits on the blossom of a snowberry and collects nectar for the winter supply with its long sucking trunk at the end of the summer dress in Berlin, Germany. dpa via AP
Chipmunks run along a rock ledge at the Horseshoe Park overlook in Rocky Mountain National Park in Grand Lake, Colorado, USA. AP Photo
Icelandic horses stand in their paddock at a stud farm in Wehrheim near Frankfurt, Germany. AP Photo
A gorilla holds baby in Bwindi National Park Uganda. Uganda Wildlife Authority / AP Photo
A Brown spider monkey baby is seen with its mother in the zoo park of Santa Fe in Medellin, Colombia. EPA
A lion is seen at Bioparque Wakata in Jaime Duque park, in Briceno municipality near Bogota, Colombia. AFP
Pelicans approach a person on a bench in St James's Park in London, Britain. PA via AP
Charolais cattle grazes on a dry meadow at a livestock farm in Nouan, northwestern France. AFP
A little auk takes flight from its hillside rocky habitat during a summer heat wave on Svalbard archipelago near Longyearbyen, Norway. Getty Images
Tigers are seen at Bioparque Wakata in Jaime Duque park, in Briceno municipality near Bogota, Colombia. AFP
A hare sits on a harvested field next to straw bales near Herrnleis, in Austria. EPA
A pair of pileated woodpeckers team up in pursuit of insects on a dead pine tree in Freeport, Maine, USA. AP Photo
Keyah, a hoest monkey, cuddles her newly born cub, in her enclosure at the Mulhouse zoo, in Mulhouse, eastern France. AFP
Cattle egrets fly in Le Grand-Luce, northwestern France. AFP
Rhino calves feed at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation at Bokakhat, Assam, India. AP Photo
An egret bird at a lake in Al Maadea district of Behera Governorate, Egypt. EPA
A record 876 flamingo chicks are hatched at Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba Wetland Reserve in Abu Dhabi, UAE, this season. Victor Besa /The National