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16 January, 2007

Runaway cRAKodile

Only in rocky Ras al Khaimah could there be widespread panic over a baby reptile about two foot long. It all began when a pet croc escaped from its pool, and was spotted on a beach some distance away:

[UAE national Fahd Abdullah Juma'a] said the first MMS pictures of the baby crocodile roaming the seashore in Al Rams, 20km north of Ras Al Khaimah, began circulating last week.

Soon, SMS messages began circulating with claims of people sighting several crocodiles in the area, spreading fear among the public. For two days the beaches of Al Rams area were deserted.

So much for CITES: apparently one can buy a smuggled African crocodile for just Dh300 in RAK pet shops. According to Fahd, several RAK residents keep five-metre-long crocs on their farms.

Now when a few of those creatures escape, then the fun will begin.

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Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

Unfortunately, CITES here in the UAE is completely ineffective. There is smuggling and trade of endangered species going on and they just don't have the power to stop it. I think its a case of wasta being more powserful than CITES...

16 January, 2007 09:07  
Blogger Earthbound Misfit said...

Seen in the Sharjah Animal Market:

- Racoons
- Peacocks
- Llamas
- Multiple Birds of Paradise
- Sugarbabies

And this bit was unbelievable: A couple of bear cubs.

Shameful really.

16 January, 2007 10:39  
Blogger nzm said...

Looks like a Nile crocodile to me!

16 January, 2007 10:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Earthbound Misfit
Where is the Sharjah Animal Market? And do they allow taking pix?

Can I buy a Benguin and shoot my own version of The March of the Benguins on SZR during rush hour?

16 January, 2007 11:15  
Blogger SIN said...

You forgot monkeys, snakes and foxes...
whatever happened to the good ole' days of having dogs and cats as pets...?

16 January, 2007 13:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like pets, i don't like crocs, i think i will stop here in the "not liking" part, i will say something i regret if i continue.
You are talking about wasta dear taxi man, when there are far more dangerous things happening , whether (especially) in Dubai or the rest of the world... (shhh...)

I would like to see a lama in the desert, that would be a site to see.

16 January, 2007 18:00  
Blogger CG said...

I want one. My Bull, cat, macaw, fish, rabbits, chickens, terrapins and goat are boring me.

16 January, 2007 20:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a shame for Falcons community of UAE. They managed to get themselves on the notes, and in every single national icon. Too much fame is backfiring now, I’m talking to you Falcons, peoples are sick of seeing you everywhere. Apparently they are willing to pay for ugly reptiles and make private pools for them!... What you guys get? Hah? A wooden stick you can sit on? Or a leather blindfold?.. You Falcons are a shame to the birds’ family.

You guys talk about CITES? They sell human pets not far from your homes!

16 January, 2007 23:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello sd, this topic is very close to me, i have been working on something related to it, can i please post an excerpt from it, thanks

He could never make his mind up whether he actually liked the blue souk or hated it. Here you could find nice stuff, rocks, crystals, fossils and other things that he liked, the building was very impressive, almost a cultural experience. That was the part he didn’t like about it as well, the cultural experience. Being harassed by man after man flogging their wares was not his idea of a good time. When faced with a big lump of crystal the type he would covet the urge to look and maybe buy was always overridden by the agitation of being harassed, enough so to make him walk away and leave whatever caught his eye behind.

The only way he could ever get into haggling, maybe even enjoy it was if he was a bit tipsy. This of course was illegal, everything was illegal here. But bottles of the local mineral water, aka gin and tonic were the usual and preferred accompaniments to a souk visit. This little bottle of fizzy mineral water was the only way to enjoy these visits. It was also a good way of getting a good deal. A little gin buzz meant that he could have a laugh and joke with the merchants while arguing about the price. He had learnt in his time that what he would consider a bloody argument in a shop was all part of the shopping experience. Instead of getting annoyed which is what most people did a more lighthearted approach was far more fruitful. Have a laugh with them, tell them they are ripping you off, promise to bring more visiting relatives if they get a good price, all this shyte spread over a fifteen minute period meant that you got a good deal, usually a quarter of the original asking price. But without the good ole gin bottle it would be a two-minute visit where he would end up getting annoyed and walking away empty handed. He was always amazed that these guys who were businessmen after all did not pick up on this. They could speak every bloody language under the sun, all because it meant more banter, more sales, these guys appeared like shrude guys, yet they never seemed to twig the whole concept that they piss off more people than they charm. He never got that, surely they knew that some people, most of their tourist customer base in fact, preferred softly softly approach to shopping, not a full frontal assault by a moustache stroking or head lolling shop guy, he never understood that.

He always thought about this during these little excursions, and after passing yet another rug toting, hard-sell shop guy who he blatantly ignored, futilely, something caught his eye. Over time he had learned to cast a swift eye over a man’s wares skimming over all the usual tourist trinkets to find any interesting items. He saw the silver chest, intricately carved with Arabic writing and symbols, probably omani, he always liked them but what caught his eye was not the chest but the hide partially draping the chest. It was dark orange almost amber with tell tale dark spots, he was instantly drawn to it and repelled at the same time. He could never figure where he stood on fur or animal products. He loved fur, loved it but he could never figure out which way he loved it most. Glistening and moving over the muscles and bones that it covered or to touch in the fur souk, shaved so that it just felt like a little bit of heaven on a hanger. It was a pleasure pain thing with him, he loved fur but was always tormented by a voice saying that it would look better on the animal it came from. The hide that caught his eye was not one of those luxuriant to the touch furs that him make the sound homer Simpson makes when he thinks of doughnuts but the type that just made his blood boil. The illegally traded kind. He had written papers in uni on sustainable wildlife conservation. Promoting the notion that for nature conservation to exist they had to pay their way. Whether it be through eco-tourism in a fluffy happy way or through sustainable hunting. Conservation is great, until you have too many animals in your park. Not hunting or killing animals for food makes their number grow, simple enough concept. This does mean that parks have too many animals so what can they do with the excess who do not respect park boundaries and eat the neighbours crops and animals. This was not so fluffy but there are people who are prepared to pay big money to hunt big game. This big money keeps the remaining wildlife alive. He was torn about so many things. He would never shoot an animal, the thought of any animal happily going about its daily grind of eating and not being eaten being shot down by some overweight, cigar smoking business man just repulsed him. Why would you want to do such a thing, is it a manly thing, he just didn’t get why you would see something beautiful but want to kill it. The people shooting the big game admire their targets, but in a twisted way he thought. They would not pay such huge sums to shoot something they did not think was worthy, but why kill it? People are weird.

It was the uncontrolled, illegal poaching of animals that pissed him off, he understood that it was out of necessity that these animals were poached. The guy pulling the trigger was being paid a pittance, enough to feed his family for a bit. What he was very clear about was that greed, unabashed greed kept the market for this buoyant, that really pissed him off, so when he saw the leopard hide draped over the chest he was aware that he was at the greed link in the chain. No one here was hungry. This throw was here because people brought them, played big money for them,

He walked into the shop, ducking as he entered to avoid the hanging lamps, and camel-chimes, he crossed the small shop floor to the far corner where the offending item was, he bent down to stroke the hide, feeling the almost stiff bristles under his fingers. He stroked it and looked at the sorry hide, it was very dry around the edges, several holes at the sides, a rush job obviously. Of course it was a rush job, some person had wanted to get way from the scene quickly, with their booty in tow. The moustache stroking, head lolling Indian shop guy came over to him, nothing his obvious interest in the hide. ‘’very nice, no’’ he said, seeming proud of his product. ‘’it is’’ he said, very nice, ‘’how old is it?’’ he asked, wondering why he was even bothering, hoping to be surprised but knowing that it would be the same old story. ‘’5 years’’ the answer came, ‘’very good skin, 5 years’’, ‘’oh so you have all the cites paperwork for this then if it is only 5 years, yes?’’ ‘’Paperwork, no paperwork sir,’’ the guy almost sounded surprised at the question, surprised maybe, worried, definitely not. ‘’If it is only 5 years old then you must have cites paperwork for the hide’’, mike said, ‘’otherwise it is illegal’’ ‘’no paperwork sir’’, ‘’how did you get it into the country then without paperwork’’, ‘’in my briefcase’’ he said, ‘’just fold it, paperwork too much problems, too much paperwork’’, he was actually smug looking as he said this, happy that he had come up with a way of avoiding the beurocracy that hindered his trade. ‘’Then this is illegal, you know that, this hide was imported illegal and you are selling it illegally’’, he laughed, ‘’sir what to do, you want it, very good price for you sir, very nice, look’’, he held it up, the entire conversation had apparently not happened, he showed the good points of his hide, the bold markings, the good size, ‘’big animal sir’’, mike walked away in disgust, both at the trader and at mike himself, he knew what he would do about this, nothing, absolutely nothing apart from bitch, he did not know what he hated most, vendors complete disregard for conservation or his apathy. He was not always like this, he had marched, he protested but this place has a bad effect on you. You know you have no voice, you know that people don’t care, you know that the biggest customers of these guys are the people in charge. He also hated that he was scared about kicking up a fuss that really made him feel like a weak man. His fear that he would get kicked out of a country he hated. What was his train of thought here, it was a free ticked out of this sandy pit, but he did not have anywhere else to go so that scared him, scared him quiet and impotent.
He left the shop, walked down the narrow corridor brushing past the vendors, he just wanted to leave now, no gin buzz would make this bad taste go away, so he left and that was that, the hide stayed and is certainly now draped over some object looking equally beautiful and horrible.

17 January, 2007 09:21  
Blogger Earthbound Misfit said...

The sharjah Animal market is next to rolla.

Just follow the signs to Rolla/Bank Street. When you get there roll your windows down and smell your way to the fish market. The animal market is the parallel street to the fish market.


17 January, 2007 11:38  
Blogger Earthbound Misfit said...

Nice Post Anonymous. Loved this bit:

"He was not always like this, he had marched, he protested but this place has a bad effect on you. You know you have no voice, you know that people don’t care, you know that the biggest customers of these guys are the people in charge. He also hated that he was scared about kicking up a fuss that really made him feel like a weak man. His fear that he would get kicked out of a country he hated."

Couldn't have said it better.

I wonder how many people out there go through the same thing.

17 January, 2007 18:11  

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