A black panther confiscated by the Latvian State Police in the Skanste neighborhood has ended up in the Rīga Zoo along with the crocodile, monkey, owls, wolves and lynxes confiscated over the past few years, according to Latvian Television’s “4. studija” (“4th Studio”) on February 23.
The panther was “castrated, most likely, in Latvia, so veterinarians have known about its existence, and what I consider most unacceptable is the nail operation, but the teeth, thank God, are all in place,” said Zoo representative Ingmārs Līdaka.
The State Police works alongside the Nature Conservation Agency to confiscate the wild animals, and Zoo employees continue to care for the animals. The agency’s Wild Species Protection Department Director Jēkabs Dzenis said there are special rules for keeping wild animals, and most of the time people can’t produce the necessary permits and are fined.
“One of the reasons people choose these types of animals is because it’s completely forbidden to sell them or they’re more expensive when they come from certified farms, or were obtained in the wild under strict restrictions,” explained Dzenis.
In another case, two lynxes were taken to the Zoo after they attacked their owner. Some people don’t comprehend that baby animals eventually become big and dangerous. In addition to confiscation, fines for more common breeds are around 700 euros for private persons and 1,400 euros for legal persons, but if it’s a more valuable or rare animal, consequences could include a jail sentence.
The case of the black leopard is still under investigation, but the owner will be responsible for keeping a rare animal in an apartment, and possibly for mutilation. The Zoo hopes a shelter for predatory animals in Spain will take the panther.