Mid Wales

Borth Animalarium leopard Rajah stays as removal fails

A leopard at Borth Animalarium
Image caption Rajah's owners say they will fight a court order to confiscate the leopard

Wildlife experts have failed in their second attempt to remove a leopard from a small Ceredigion zoo.

The Cat Survival Trust spent six hours trying to lure Rajah out of his cage at Borth Animalarium and into a transport box with a trail of meat.

Three people made several attempts to coax Rajah out but he was suspicious of the transport box.

Last year the zoo was fined and told the animals would be removed for not having the correct paperwork.

The team from the Cat Survival Trust in Hertfordshire, which looks after unwanted or surplus zoo cats, arrived at the animalarium at 0715 BST on Wednesday, and started work at 0900 BST.

It said it would plan another attempt to remove the animal, while owner Jean Mumbray has lodge an appeal against the leopard's removal.

The trust, which has been asked by Defra [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] to remove 15-year-old Rajah and two black and white ruffed lemurs, tried to coax the leopard from its cage into a rectangular-shaped box with a trail of chicken and rabbit.

Rajah ate most of the food near him, and at one stage three-quarters of his body was in the trap.

Terry Moore, the Cat Survival Trust's honorary director, said: "There are always one or two awkward cats and this and this was one of them.

"This leopard was really cautious and is one of the brighter cats in captivity.

"We did gain his confidence and it got three-quarters down the box. In the end he'd had enough food, but we're confident our next attempt will be successful."

Paperwork delays

Image caption Members of the Cat Survival Trust have prepared a baited transport box for the leopard

The trust's first attempt to remove Rajah, in April, ended in failure after five hours when he refused to be enticed into a box with meat.

But they were hoping to be more successful in removing two ruffed lemurs from the site, having previously removed two ring-tailed lemurs.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers and a vet were also at the scene.

Jean Mumbray and her husband Alan have said they took on Rajah six years ago after his previous owner emigrated.

They claimed the leopard was born in the former Basildon Zoo, Essex, but delays in paperwork meant they were unable to prove his background until the court order had been granted.

Mrs Mumbray described the trust's latest attempt to move Rajah as "rather horrible", and said she had lodged an appeal against his removal and that of the lemurs.

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