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Jaguarundis, caracals and lynxes are among the dozens of dangerous wild animals being kept as pets in Cornwall, a new report has revealed.

According to the international wildlife charity Born Free, some 54 such animals are legally being kept in people’s homes in the county. Nationally it is more than 2,700 dangerous wild animals which are being kept privately under licences permitted by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. This number includes more than 200 wild cats, 250 primates and 400 venomous snakes.

Among the array of wild animals kept legally in people’s homes are bush vipers in Bedfordshire, cheetahs in Cheshire, caiman in Kent and lynxes in Lincolnshire. In Cornwall, the charity uncovered 13 ruffed lemurs, 15 ring-tailed Lemur, four lynxes, four servals, four Asian short-clawed otters, two collared brown lemurs, two ocelots, two fishing cats, two caracals, two jaguarundis, four camels and four ostriches.

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Dr Mark Jones, Born Free’s head of policy said the fact there are nearly 3,000 wild creatures classified as dangerous under UK law being kept as ‘pets’ across Britain is of great concern.

Born Free said keeping such animals threatens the safety of people and other animals, and can result in considerable suffering. Unlike domesticated animals, which have been bred over generations to live alongside humans, these wild animals have complex physical, psychological, nutritional, social, and environmental needs which cannot be met by life in captivity.

As a result, these often threatened, or endangered creatures can suffer poor health and psychological damage. Increased demand for exotic ‘pets’ also puts pressure on wild populations.

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