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What the law says about keeping wild animals like tigers as pets in Ghana

The issue of keeping wild animals as pets has become topical over the last few days on both social and traditional media.

This is because businessman Freedom Jacob Caesar has been seen keeping two tigers at his residence, Wonda World Estates, near the British High Commission at Ridge in Accra.

It follows accusations by some residents of the area that the presence of the predators has put their lives in danger, after several attempts to get them relocated, proved futile.

Although these claims have been refuted by the owner, the Police have charged the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission to remove the animals to an appropriate facility.

But what does the law say?

Section 6B (1) of Legislative Instrument (L.I 1452) on Wildlife Conservation (Amendment) Regulations, 1989 stipulates what one has to do before keeping a wild animal as a pet.

“6B (1) No person shall keep a wild animal as a pet unless he is the holder of a license issued by the Chief Game and Wildlife Officer or his representative for that purpose”

Section 6B(2) also says the person must apply for a license in writing and pay an amount as determined by the Chief Game and Wildlife Officer or his representative in the area of residence.

“Application for license to keep a wild animal as a pet shall be made in writing to the Chief Game and Wildlife Officer or his representative in the area of residence of the applicant, accompanied by such fees as may be determined by the Chief Game and Wildlife Officer.”

Below is the provision of L.I 1452

“6B (1) No person shall keep a wild animal as a pet unless he is the holder of a license issued by the Chief Game and Wildlife Officer or his representative for that purpose

(2) Application for license to keep a wild animal as a pet shall be made in writing to the Chief Game and Wildlife Officer or his representative in the area of residence of the applicant, accompanied by such fees as may be determined by the Chief Game and Wildlife Officer

(3) The Chief Game and Wildlife Officer may in granting a licence under this section stipulate the conditions under which the wild animal shall be kept

(4) A license granted under this section may for stated reasons be withdrawn, and the pet confiscated by the State

(5) All fees collected for licenses issued under the regulation shall be paid into the central government account

(6) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions or regulation 6A or 6B commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding ¢10,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months, or both.

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