Tigers and monkeys among raft of risky or rare animals owned in NI

Tigers are among the wild cats for which licences have been granted in the UK
Tigers are among the wild cats for which licences have been granted in the UK

The range of rare and potentially-deadly animals being kept by private owners in the Province can now be revealed.

The Press Association has published a list of licences given out by over 100 UK councils allowing people to keep a host of odd animals.

The information was obtained using Freedom of Information laws.

In Northern Ireland, the information received in response to enquiries to the Environment Agency revealed that licences exist for two tigers, one cheetah, one grey wolf, two emus, four capuchin monkeys, one rattlesnake, four vipers, one adder, 12 ring-tailed lemurs, one gila monster, eight raccoons, two squirrel monkeys, three coatimundi (a raccoon-type animal), and one kinkajou (a rainforest-dwelling mammal).

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

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 DWA licences are also issued to places where animals may be receiving care after being rescued, or small private breeding farms.