TIGERS, lions and bears are just some of the deadly predators lurking in our humble streets according to a shocking new study that revealed the true extent of Britons keeping beasts under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act.
The Express reports that postal workers who fear the odd ‘beware of the dog’ warning will be astounded by research that shows a whopping 4,755 dangerous animals have been declared as living on private land up and down the country under the 1976 act.
The research, by animal welfare and conservation charity Born Free discovered that as well as big cats having been reported living in the UK’s back gardens, 700 venomous snakes and even an elephant were also declared under the law that allows ownership of exotic pets under a local authority licence.
The charity believes the surge in exotic ‘pet’ ownership is down to the internet, which now makes it easier than ever to buy wild animals online without explanation of where they have come from or how to look after them.
Other animals reported in the study is a giraffe, nine leopards, three cheetahs, zebras, antelope and camels as well as more than 100 monkeys, 130 lemurs, 75 crocodiles and 80 venomous lizards.
The findings have prompted the charity to demand a review of current legislation surrounding the law as well as more restrictions on the ownership of dangerous and wild animals.
In particular, the organisation wants a crackdown on the ownership of large boa constrictor snakes after a man was strangled to death by his pet African rock python at his home.
While the licensing figures include establishments that have rescued wild boars and ostriches as well as animals used for television programmes and films, Born Free understands a large proportion of such animals are being kept on as pets instead of being handed back.
Dr Chris Draper, Head of Animal Welfare and Captivity for Born Free, said: “The keeping of wild animals as pets is a growing concern.
The widespread use of the internet has made it easier than ever to order or purchase a wild animal without clarification as to where it has come from or how it should be cared for.
“Wild animals are particularly vulnerable to welfare problems because of their complex social, physical and behavioural needs.” He added: “They require specific housing conditions, dietary requirements, and furthermore, the safety risk these animals pose to their owners and the wider public should not be ignored.”
(Story source: The Express)