Pet tigers remain in Ghana home despite Accra court order

Two tigers at the centre of a row between neighbours in Ghana’s capital, Accra, remain in a cage on one of the properties despite a court ordering their removal.

When businessman Nana Kwame Bediako took the unusual step of importing them he thought people would be excited to see non-native wildlife.

But his unimpressed neighbours took legal action.

“My family and I feel very unsafe and terrified any time we see these tigers,” Pamela Agba said.

They were brought in from Dubai as cubs last year but now the wild cats appear to be fully grown.

Mr Bediako has not said how much the process cost him but described what he had done as an “achievement”.

“I went through the right process, and I brought experts from outside to create a safety cage for them so that they don’t become a danger to the public,” he told reporters last year.

“I can guarantee you that there’s millions in Africa who have never seen a tiger and that’s the common yellow and black. Now we have the white tigers, which are very rare in this world.”

Mr Bediako keeps them enclosed in a pen next to his home in a gated compound with five other houses in an upmarket area of Accra.

Ms Agba and her family share a garden with Mr Bediako on his Wonder World Estate, and her decision to take the matter to court sparked huge interest in the country.

The court agreed with the Agba family and asked the Forestry Commission, which is responsible for wildlife, to remove the pet tigers within three days in November last year.

Lawyers for the Forestry Commission had told the courts that they could only remove the animals when Mr Bediako completed an enclosure in another place to accommodate them.

In February, three months after the initial ruling, the Forestry Commission pleaded for another three months, but it has still failed to remove the tigers.

Mr Bediako told the BBC he needed more time because it has taken several months to build a new enclosure in another part of Accra, away from residential areas, for the tigers.

Tigers

“We have written to the Forestry Commission to give us a month because we are almost through with the shelter to house the animals.”

He said any attempt to forcefully move the tigers would only harm them or create danger for society since there was currently no facility available to keep them.

“It took us almost five months to get land and another four months to build the facility. We want to be the first country in Africa, apart from South Africa, to successfully manage those animals,” he told the BBC.

Last month, the Agba family returned to court, which found the head of the Forestry Commission in contempt of court, and issued a warrant for his arrest.

For Mr Bediako, all that matters is the safety of the animals.

On the issue of his neighbours being afraid, Mr Bediako said he was surprised. He said none of the other people who have bought apartments in the complex he owns had complained.

“They have lived with them for the past few months since the animals were brought and there hasn’t been any problem.”

Ms Agba’s lawyer said that other residents had moved out because of the tigers.

Ms Agba just wants the whole issue to be over.

She said she was fed up seeing the tigers every time she opened her window.  / bbc

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