Leopard Rajah refuses confiscation at Borth Animalarium

Rajah the leopard looks out of his quarters
Image caption Rajah the leopard looking out of his quarters

Officials who went to confiscate a leopard from an animal home left empty-handed after a five-hour stand-off.

Rajah refused to be enticed into a waiting box with lumps of meat.

Jean Mumbray, of Borth Animalarium, Ceredigion, said: "The box was so small he only had to reach in with his paw and unhook the meat."

The officials were acting on a court order to remove Rajah and eight other rare animals, including a lynx and two lemurs.

Mrs Mumbray, 72, who runs the centre with her husband Alan, said she took on Rajah six years ago after his previous owner emigrated.

She said the 16-year-old leopard was born in the former Basildon Zoo, Essex, but delays in paperwork meant she was not able to prove his background until the court order had been granted.

Rajah was already confined to his sleeping area in the animal centre to reduce the stress for him of the planned move, she said.

But it was soon apparent he was not willing to be persuaded in to the box officials had brought to move him.

Mrs Mumbray said: "I told them it was much too small. If it had been a little bit bigger, he might have gone in.

"He didn't want to go in. They tried to bribe him in with lumps of meat."

Last August, Mr and Mrs Mumbray were fined by magistrates and told the animals would be found new homes.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesman said: "The recovery of the animals is being professionally and sensitively handled - at no point were any animals chased or agitated.

"The animalarium's own vet was present during the entire process and was satisfied with how proceedings were being handled."

The spokesman said that the animals would be recovered at a later date "with the minimum of disruption, which can be a slow process".

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