Almost 2,500 ‘harmful wild animals’ saved by personal collectors in England

Mountain lions, alligators and zebras are just some of the practically 2,500 “harmful wild animals” being saved by personal collectors in England, based on a survey of council licensing knowledge.

The checklist consists of Bactrian camels in Sedgemoor, gray wolves in West Berkshire, honey badgers in Cornwall and lethal snakes in Bolsover.

The survey discovered the Buckinghamshire council space leads the nation, with 325 harmful wild animals registered, together with blackbuck antelope, capuchin monkeys, lemurs and ostriches.

West Oxfordshire district council, with 200 unique animals licensed, got here second – with the big complete together with animals at Heythrop Zoological Gardens, an unlicensed zoo run by ex-circus coach Jim Clubb, who hires out animals together with educated hippos, tigers and zebras for TV exhibits, movies and personal events.

Cornwall got here in third place, with 165 harmful wild animals registered – lots of which belong to the collector and conservationist Todd Dalton, who runs the Feral-Wild Animal Undertaking, a menagerie together with two solar bears and a big number of massive cats.

There are 14 completely different species of unique feline owned privately in Cornwall, together with a cheetah, a mountain lion and a snow leopard.

Cornwall has for many years been dogged by rumours of huge cats on the unfastened, with stories concentrated across the north-eastern space of Bodmin Moor.

Sceptics have scoffed at tales concerning the “Beast of Bodmin”, saying the local weather and restricted meals provide would make sustaining a breeding inhabitants on the moors unimaginable. However a privately maintained inhabitants of huge cats might present a believable clarification for such sightings.

Police across the nation acquired 32 calls about massive cat sightings in 2021, and final yr, Devon and Cornwall police recorded a sighting of a lynx in Helston.

England additionally has quite a few bison farms, the place the animals are farmed for meat, with 105 of the North American beasts roaming the plains of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, 47 at Bush Farm in Warminster, Wiltshire, and one other 40 at a ranch in Durham.

Alligators are registered to homeowners in South Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and West Oxfordshire.

One of many world’s most harmful arachnids, the brown recluse spider, resides in Dacorum, north-west Hertfordshire, with the two.5cm-long spider able to shelling out necrotic bites which may destroy blood vessels, tissue and nerves.

Six king cobras – hooded vipers native to South Asian jungles and able to killing an elephant with a single chew – are registered to homeowners in Bolsover, Dacorum, Dover, Hertsmere, Stroud and West Northamptonshire.

Numerous species of venom-spraying snakes, which may poison individuals from a distance of as much as 3 metres, are additionally slithering round UK vivariums – together with the Mozambique spitting cobra, which is registered to homeowners in Dover and Thanet and should be dealt with with goggles to keep away from its flying cocktail of poisons inflicting blindness.

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Additionally well-known for spitting, camels are one other generally saved pet, with the survey discovering six council areas – Melton, North Hertfordshire, North Northamptonshire, Sedgemoor, Staffordshire Moorlands and West Oxfordshire – are residence to the two-humped species native to the steppes of central Asia.

The survey of licensing knowledge was primarily based on March 2022 figures supplied by native authorities.

Chris Lewis, of Born Free Basis, mentioned: “I feel most individuals can be shocked to be taught that these days so many harmful wild animals, together with massive cats, alligators and venomous snakes are being saved by personal people throughout the UK.

“Laws governing the maintaining of harmful wild animals is now virtually 50 years previous, inconsistent with different animal laws and fails to make sure the welfare of animals saved beneath licence.

“The intention of the Harmful Wild Animals Act 1976 was to make the personal maintaining of harmful wild animals a completely distinctive circumstance; nonetheless, the continuing development highlights fairly the other. Far better and up-to-date restrictions on the commerce in and maintaining of untamed animals as pets within the UK are wanted.

“Any future laws ought to present full consideration of whether or not the welfare wants of particular person animals may be met, and homeowners have obligatory {qualifications} and expertise; a assure that the commerce doesn’t compromise conservation of species in thewild; due consideration of potential environmental issues (such because the institution of invasive species by way of escapes, the deliberate releases of undesirable pets, and the potential unfold of zoonotic ailments); and affirmation there is no such thing as a danger to wider well being and security of animals or individuals.”