Search continues after suspected big cat sighting in Dubai suburb

Police and municipal officials conducted an extensive search in the Springs area to find and capture a 'wild animal'

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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.

A police official prepares to launch an aerial drone to scan the Springs district, south of Dubai Marina, following reports of a big cat on the loose. Authorities urged the public to call 999 if they spot a creature that resembles a large black cat. The National

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.”

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