cheetah roaming Riyadh street shot dead by police

“The cheetah was spotted moving toward the bank’s gate by the bank’s outer cameras at about 4:15 a.m. on Monday, prompting the security guards to raise alarm,” bank representative Salem Al-Onaizi told Arab News on Tuesday.
Al-Onaizi said the panic-stricken guards saw the cheetah darting around the bank, which led them to close the entrance gate and inform the authorities about the animal freely roaming near Dabbab Street.
According to eyewitnesses, the cheetah was first seen appearing from a nearby villa, triggering panic. The animal is believed to have escaped from a cage in a nearby villa. There were no reports of maulings or deaths.
“Officers opened fire on the cheetah, killing the animal near the parking lot of the bank,” said the bank spokesman.
The bank’s official said that the corpse was taken by the owner, but eyewitnesses said the police were still looking for the animal’s owner.
Judging from its comfort level around humans, the animal “appeared to be neither completely wild nor domesticated,” said N. Jameel, who works in the adjacent building on Dabbab Street.
Cheetahs are routinely smuggled into the Kingdom from Africa, usually as pups, to be sold illegally to collectors of exotic animals.
Animal trafficking to the region is a lucrative racket for smugglers.
In December 2009, airport officials  in the Indonesian capital Jakarta thwarted smugglers who were attempting to send a baby orangutan and other tropical animals to Saudi Arabia.
The problem of exotic animal smuggling has led officials in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to pledge crackdowns on the illicit trade.
Animal right activists point out most of these animals die in transit or after they have been handed over to collectors who are inexperienced in proper care and handling of the creatures.

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