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Crocodiles, bears, lions, apes, cobras and scorpions, as well as other large predators and poisonous creatures, are now the subject of a ban from being kept as pets in Russia, to safeguard the health of both ‘owner’ and animal.
Such beasts pose dangers to people, while apartments or country houses differ greatly from the natural habitats of the animals, a difference that “may affect their health negatively, even causing death,” a new act, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday, reads.
Large predators such as bears, wolves, lions, tigers, lynxes and others are among the species to benefit from the new protections. The ban also includes crocodiles and carnivore turtles, Komodo Dragons, bearded lizards and other reptiles. Also set to get a new lease on life are snakes such as cobras and pythons, as well as many poisonous arachnids, including scorpions and tarantulas.
Aquarium lovers should forget about putting sharks or manta rays in their household fish tanks from now on, with coral polyps also outlawed in the home. Penguins, pelicans, owls, falcons and some species of ostriches have been added to the list of birds banned from homesteads.
Chimpanzees, baboons and other apes and monkeys have also been forbidden from being kept at home, with the Barbary ape (magot) being the only exception.
Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash
The legislation doesn’t mean that people will now be parted with their dangerous and vulnerable pets. The ban comes into force on January 1, 2020, with all animals on the new schedule that had been purchased before that date to remain with their owners until they die.
The government’s new blacklist also won’t affect zoos, circuses, aquariums and other specialized environments operated by professional organizations.
Famous Russian animal expert and veteran TV host Nikolay Drozdov has fully backed the ban, saying that keeping poisonous snakes and large predators at home is “unacceptable” as, sooner or later, it ends in a tragedy.
He recalled the famous story of the Berberov family, who lived with lions and a cougar in their apartment in the city of Baku (now the capital of Azerbaijan) in the 1970s. Just like their pet animals, who starred in several movies, they were celebrities in the Soviet Union.
But their lion attacked a man and had to be shot dead, Drozdov said. “But then they got another lion after that, and a cougar, which killed their [14-year-old] boy and scalped the female owner.”
There’s been an increase recently in Russia in reports of carnivore pets attacking their owners or other people. Earlier this year, a domesticated bear mauled a woman’s hand in the Far East.
maul[mɔl]: v. 袭击，撕咬
The inability to provide proper conditions and nutrition for the beasts also led to complaints from animal rights activists, and to public outrage. Such negligence also saw animals escaping from their owners, creating a real threat to local populations.