Crocodiles, bears, lions, apes, cobras and scorpions, as well as other large predators and poisonouscreatures, are now the subject of a ban from beingkept as pets in Russia, to safeguard the health ofboth 'owner' and animal.
Such beasts pose dangers to people, whileapartments or country houses differ greatly from thenatural habitats of the animals, a difference that"may affect their health negatively, even causing death," a new act, signed by Prime MinisterDmitry Medvedev on Friday, reads.
Large predators such as bears, wolves, lions, tigers, lynxes and others are among the speciesto 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 aresnakes such as cobras and pythons, as well as many poisonous arachnids, including scorpionsand tarantulas.
Aquarium lovers should forget about putting sharks or manta rays in their household fish tanksfrom now on, with coral polyps also outlawed in the home. Penguins, pelicans, owls, falcons andsome 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 keptat home, with the Barbary ape (magot) being the only exception.
The legislation doesn't mean that people will now be parted with their dangerous andvulnerable pets. The ban comes into force on January 1, 2020, with all animals on the newschedule 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 otherspecialized 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 theirapartment in the city of Baku (now the capital of Azerbaijan) in the 1970s. Just like their petanimals, 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 gotanother lion after that, and a cougar, which killed their [14-year-old] boy and scalped thefemale owner."
There's been an increase recently in Russia in reports of carnivore pets attacking their ownersor other people. Earlier this year, a domesticated bear mauled a woman's hand in the Far East.
The inability to provide proper conditions and nutrition for the beasts also led to complaintsfrom animal rights activists, and to public outrage. Such negligence also saw animalsescaping from their owners, creating a real threat to local populations.