As true animal lovers know, respecting the natural instincts and needs of animals is an essential basis for enjoying a positive relationship that benefits both human and animal. In this light, research published this week highlighting the number of wild animals living in UK properties makes for uncomfortable reading.
Following a freedom of information request to every council in the UK by the Press Association, a clearer picture has emerged of the numbers of wild animals being kept privately, outside those housed by zoos and welfare organisations:
- More than 100 councils have issued licenses for predatory animals
- Big cats are being kept in several locations; with thirteen tigers, two lions, eight leopards, seven cheetahs and nine pumas all legally registered
- Fifteen wolves are registered to addresses in the UK
- Over 300 cobras, vipers and rattlesnakes are licensed
- Ten alligators, nine crocodiles and seventeen caimans are living in approved domestic residences
- 412 bison and more than 2,000 wild boar are living in private fields around the UK, whilst the research also highlights a small zebra population
Dangerous Wild Animals (DWA) licences are granted to allow UK residents to keep undomesticated animals as pets, providing they follow a series of safety measures and pay a small fee. Not surprisingly, the RSPCA has voiced its concerns about the findings:
“We are deeply concerned about the number of exotic animals, including dangerous wild animals, now being kept as pets. People may buy them with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes neglected when the novelty wears off and the commitment hits home. This is why we would encourage anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they are a realistic pet.
Licences for exotic animals classed as dangerous wild animals are granted by local authorities and the details are also held locally. There is no centrally held list to determine how many are kept across the country. The emphasis of this legislation is on making sure the owner takes reasonable steps to prevent the animal from being a threat to the public, rather than the welfare of the animals concerned.”
Above is from Sky News.
A happier news story reported in recent days concerns Eddie, the Yorkshire terrier from Stockport who, after going missing for five years, has now been reunited with his owners following a routine veterinary check-up. Eddie was being looked after by relatives whilst the Wright family were away on holiday, but when he escaped from the garden an extensive local search failed to find him and the devastated family thought they had lost him forever. It seems that Eddie was taken in by a lady in the area who cared for him in the intervening period, until very recently she became unable to care for him and Eddie went to live with a neighbour. Now aged thirteen, Eddie was taken to the vet for a routine check-up by his new care, where a microchip check registered him as missing. The Wright family had kept their contact details up to date with the microchip database and so they were soon contacted with the good news.
Sandra Wright told reporters: “Best of all, he arrived home on my daughter’s 16th birthday. I printed off one of Eddie’s ‘missing’ posters from the computer for when she arrived home from school, then when she came in and saw Eddie next to it she was over the moon and said it was the best birthday present ever!”
Above is from the Guardian online.
We do love a story with a happy ending! And it just goes to show how important it is both to microchip your pets and also to keep your contact details up-to-date in case the unthinkable should happen.
Until next time, best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support
Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.