Revealed: Leopards, a lynx and wild boar all being kept on private properties in Norfolk

A Lynx cub. Photo: Neville Buck/Lynx UK Trust /PA Wire

A Lynx cub. Photo: Neville Buck/Lynx UK Trust /PA Wire - Credit: PA

Wild boar, lynx and African hunting dogs are among dozens of dangerous animals being kept on private properties in Norfolk and Suffolk, figures have revealed.

Zebra foals pictured at Banham Zoo. Some are being held privately in Norfolk.

Zebra foals pictured at Banham Zoo. Some are being held privately in Norfolk. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Wild cats including clouded leopards, serval cats and an Asian leopard cat are also prowling behind the fences of addresses in the region.

Across the country, thousands of dangerous animals, including 13 tigers, two lions, eight leopards, seven cheetahs and nine pumas are prowling behind the fences of addresses up and down the land, an investigation by the Press Association has found.

In Norfolk and Suffolk the following animals are kept privately:

•Breckland District Council: Two black and white ruffed lemurs, two clouded leopards, one caiman, one lynx.

A wild boar. Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA.

A wild boar. Photo: Barry Batchelor/PA. - Credit: PA


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•Broadland District Council: 10 reindeer (up to 30 allowed), two wild boar, six ostriches.

•Great Yarmouth Borough Council: Six ring-tailed lemurs.

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•Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council: 11 wild boar, 20 ostriches, a maximum of 116 antelopes, four tapirs.

•North Norfolk District Council: 10 reindeer, two camels, two ring-tailed lemurs, two white-faced sakis, seven tapirs.

•South Norfolk Council: One zebra, one Asian leopard cat.

•West Suffolk councils (St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Forest Heath District Council): Seven lynxes, four serval cats, two caracals, two jaguarundis, one fishing cat, three African hunting dogs, two bobcats, one tayra

Nationally, hundreds of poisonous snakes are also being kept, including more than 300 killer cobras, vipers and rattlesnakes.

And lurking beneath the waters of domestic enclosures are 10 alligators, nine crocodiles and 17 caimans – a smaller member of the crocodile family.

More than 100 councils have given people licences to keep a host of deadly predators, with some keeping a variety of different species at their homes.

Animal welfare experts condemned the findings, saying it was 'deeply concerned' at the numbers and that animal welfare was being put at risk.

The data was obtained from freedom of information (FOI) requests sent to every council in the UK, of which 363 replied. In Northern

Ireland, the Environment Agency provided the figures for the whole country.

Dangerous wild animals (DWA) licences are granted by councils to allow people to keep undomesticated animals as pets, providing they have the requisite safety measures at their home and pay a small fee. But they are also issued to properties where animals may be receiving care after being rescued, or living at small private farms.

Exotic wildlife also grazes on the greens of the British countryside, with 412 bison and more than 2,000 wild boar living in private fields, along with a score of zebras.

An RSPCA spokesman said: '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.'

•Do you keep any of the animals mentioned above? What are they like as pets? Email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk

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