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WATCH | Urban jungle — Wildlife experts alarmed by rapid increase in wildlife kept as pets in Jozi

Lack of laws, uniformity in legislation governing wildlife pet ownership blamed

11 October 2021 - 06:10

Wildlife experts have decried the practice of keeping of exotic wildlife as pets in Gauteng.

Poor by-laws contribute to a legal grey area that sees Johannesburg residents keeping exotic pets ranging from gorillas and leopards to tigers.  

Environmentalists said Gauteng has displayed an alarming increase in people acquiring wildlife as pets, especially tigers.

According to SA Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre CEO Judy Davidson, the Springs-based NPO has seen an increase in the admittance of exotic wildlife. 

“What happens with any wild animal is that when they reach maturity they become a problem, and then they are dropped at our gate or we are called to say, ‘We can't keep such and such. We’ve had it for four years but it is biting the children’. It happens without fail,” she said. 

Animal rights experts warned that a lack of laws and uniformity in legislation governing wildlife pet ownership, especially of exotic animals, paves the way for SA’s cities to transform into urban jungles.