Wales: Leopard breeding looks unlikely

09:00 – 18 July 2007

Plans to breed leopards in the Swansea Valley could be thrown into further doubt on Friday.Planning permission has already been turned down for the Glais scheme.

Now an application to keep the beasts under the 1976 Dangerous Wild Animals Act may go the same way.

Swansea Council licensing committee members have no recommendation from officers in front of them when they meet on Friday.

But environment director Reena Owen does refer to the lack of planning consent in her report.

“It does not seem in the animals’ best interest to relocate them before the necessary planning consents are granted with the prospect of further relocation,” she said.

The scheme to keep two Persian leopards has been put forward at Ynysmond Road by Gareth Williams, of Abertawe Country Hotel for Cats.

He wants to breed the animals in a 40sq ft enclosure at the cattery as part of an international conservation scheme run by the European Endangered Species Project.

The animals are close to extinction in the wild and are difficult to breed in captivity.

The authority has received a 338-name petition in support for the project and a 137-name one against it, with people from outside the area signing both lists.

Vets have confirmed that the design put forward for the enclosure is adequate, subject to slight modification.

Mr Williams has lodged an appeal against March’s refusal of planning consent, taken on the grounds that the enclosure would amount to unpermitted development in the countryside.

One of the factors that will have to be considered on Friday is whether a licence would be against the interests of the public for safety, nuisance or other reasons.

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