Video: Stray camels blamed for accidents in Ras Al Khaimah
A 28-year-old Emirati, and a 32-year-old Comoros resident, have recently been killed.
With stray animals seen wandering on the roads of Ras Al Khaimah, and blamed, especially camels, for terrible traffic accidents, the people here voiced their concerns and urged the authorities to take action.
A video of three stray camels walking on the Shamal - Al Rams road to the north of the RAK city, went viral on social media. The camels even started running towards a busy traffic light which was in red.
Two people, including a 28-year-old Emirati young man, and a 32-year-old Comoros resident, have recently been killed, and a third was seriously injured, after the car they were travelling in rammed into four stray camels which also died on the spot.
Ahmed Jamil, Syrian, said he came across some camels walking on one of the highways of the emirate on the wrong direction. "Fortunately, this happened during the daylight, and no one was driving at a high speed."
Hassan Hakam, Egyptian, said stray animals, particularly camels were blamed for several horrific accidents where many people were killed and injured. "They do pose a grave risk to road users' safety."
"All the bodies concerned, mainly the civic body and the department of public works and services here, need to take immediate action to put an end to this serious phenomenon."
The main reason behind these stray animals is that their owners do not pay attention to them, said Sulaiman Al Mahi, Sudanese. "They let them walk freely around the roads and streets of the emirate."
Mahmoud Abdullah, Emirati, said he had recently escaped certain death when he was surprised with a stray camel when returning back from work. "I luckily managed to avoid collision with the stray camel."
"Some animal owners insist on building their makeshift farms and barns close to the main roads and highways," said Ali Musabih, Emirati. "Therefore, these animals go out and cross the road in search for food, even in wastes, in a way that distorts the image of the emirate."
Munzir bin Shukr Al Zaabi, director general of the RAK municipality, said they try all possible means to protect road users against stray animals, particularly during rain time and poor visibility.
"We have urged the owners of animals to stick fluorescent retroreflective strips on their animals so that they can be easily seen from a distance and prevent horrible accidents, but some people are careless."
The RAK Police have meanwhile, deployed more traffic patrols to get these stray animals off the emirate's roads and highways. "Drivers are urged to be attentive on the roads, and shepherds have to pay attention to their animals as well," they said.
However, animal shepherds blame speeding motorists for killing their animals. "Should they observe speed limit, there would be no such terrible accidents which kill people and our animals," they said.
Eng. Ahmed Al Hammadi, director general of the department of public works, said they have launched more Raqib (Control) patrols on the public roads and squares of the emirate to catch these stray animals.
The department has set up more traps at different areas of the emirate to catch stray animals.
"Fences are also being built to keep stray animals off the road and drivers."
The department has also completed an animal shelter at the Al Jazirat Al Hamra, he disclosed. "Multiple stray animals have been caught by the department traps this year so far."
The traps are meant to snare stray animals and protect road users' life, and theirs. "More importantly, we want to curb deadly traffic accidents involving stray animals."
The traps are mainly installed at open and empty areas close to public roads, he explained. "The traps are kind of circle iron shape with one door, and some herbs inside to lure the animal in.
Should any animal gets in, the door is closed automatically. "Special vehicles are then brought to the site to shift the seized animal to the barn of the Department."
The camels, goats, and cows caught are subjected to veterinary examination to make sure that they are free from any contagious disease, Eng Al Hammadi pointed out.
"Should they prove to be disease free and fit for human consumption, they are moved to the RAK Central Abattoir where they are slaughtered, and distributed to the charity societies here."
However, the camels are mostly spared, kept in the Department barn, and never slaughtered for their financial and traditional value, he underlined.
"If the animal owner had already filed a report at the Department that his camel or whatever animal is missing, he shall suffer a fine of Dh1,000 to get it back if it is in the custody of the Department."
The owner, following a strict verification procedure, shall then be forced to sign a declaration never to leave his animal unattended.
"Some owners of the repeatedly seized camels send one of their relatives each time to evade hefty fines, eternal confiscation, and the slaughter of the animal."
The Department has received lots of public complaints that some stray animals trespassed on their houses and ate the herbs in. "These are apart from the many traffic accidents involving stray animals reported," he said.
Though the Department does not have the right seals to stamp or numerate the animals caught, it is easy to identify the animals which have been seized more often.
"The Department's skilled and vigilant inspectors are able to identify the owner of the seized animal immediately, particularly if the animal is caught at the same place," he said.
The Department has also installed some sign boards across the emirate to alert cattle owners on how important it is to tie their animals tightly and do not let them wander on the roads.
"Animals normally flock to public roads in search for herbs to eat."