Tiger on the loose in Doha traffic jam

The tiger roaming among cars on the Doha Expressway on March 8, 2016.
The tiger roaming among cars on the Doha Expressway on March 8, 2016.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE/JITHESH UNNITHAN

DOHA (AFP) - A tiger was spotted wandering through a traffic jam on one of Doha's busiest roads on Tuesday (March 8), and government officials said they would investigate the incident after footage appeared online.

Pictures and video showing the tiger roaming among cars on the Doha Expressway flooded social media in the tiny Gulf country.

Footage including a 20-second video on YouTube and Twitter showed the big cat running through lanes of heavy traffic, apparently trying to find a way off the congested road.

Footage also emerged showing the tiger initially falling onto the road from a moving truck.

The interior ministry took to Twitter to say it was investigating the incident.

"We assure all that the concerned authorities (are) following up with what has been trending over spotting a tiger in some areas of the country," it tweeted.

Twitter users said the incident happened on Tuesday (March 8) morning, although this could not be immediately verified.

One picture released on social media claimed to show that the big cat had been captured safe and sound.

It was not clear who owns the tiger, but keeping wild animals, including tigers, as pets is not uncommon in wealthy Gulf countries.

Last year, the government had to make an appeal for the owners of an escaped cheetah cub to come forward after it was found north of Doha.

After one sighting of a tiger several years ago, a spoof Doha Tiger twitter site was created.

One social media user, Sultan Al-Qassemi, complained on Twitter after seeing the footage that: "This obsession of keeping wild animals by rich kids in the Gulf has gone too far."