Nearly 4,000 dangerous wild animals are being privately kept in the UK as pets according to a new survey conducted by Born Free.
The charity recently reviewed the number of Dangerous Wild Animal (DWA) Act licences granted by local authorities across the UK and received responses from 364 of the 371 local authorities contacted.
The data highlighted that in 2020, a total of 210 DWA licences were granted for the keeping of 3,951 individual wild animals which included 320 wild cats, 274 primates,158 crocodilians
508 venomous snakes, 332 scorpions, 106 venomous lizards and two elephants.
Other species on the DWA list that are being kept as pets or in private collections in the UK include zebras, camels, fossa, hyena, sun bears, wolves, and otters.
The charity is calling on the government to review the law and put a stop to creatures being kept as pets in unsuitable captive conditions.
Currently, under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, anyone in Britain can keep a dangerous wild animal as long as they obtain a licence from their local authority.
Dr Mark Jones, veterinarian and head of policy at Born Free, said: “Since the millennium, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of exotic pets in private ownership, including a 94% increase in the number of venomous snakes, 57% increase in wild cats, 198% increase in crocodilians and over a 2,000% increase in scorpions.”