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Meet the man who keeps two lions in his back garden in Nottinghamshire

Meet the man who has been given permission to keep two lions in a den in his back garden in Nottinghamshire – despite objections from his neighbours

  • Reece Oliver, 28, has been allowed keep the two lions in a den in his back garden 
  • His neighbours objected to his plans and argued they put the public at risk 
  • Broxtowe Council gave him permission for an enclosure for Rocky and Rora 
  • Mr Oliver said: ‘I love those animals, they’re like children to me’

Villagers in Britain are used to the squawk of a pheasant or the bleating of lambs in their rural idyll.

But the locals of Strelley may have to get used to a rather different sound – the roar of two lions.

Despite objections from his neighbours, Reece Oliver, 28, has been told he can keep the animals in a den in his back garden.

Broxtowe Council in Nottinghamshire gave him permission for an enclosure for Rocky and Rora – two young African lions he rescued from a circus in the Czech Republic – after hearing they face being put down if he cannot keep them.

Reece Oliver, 28, has been allowed keep the two lions, named Rocky and Rora, in a den in his back garden, despite objections from his neighbours

Mr Oliver has kept the seven-month-old cubs in a specially-built fenced off area since February, but it emerged that the enclosure was built without the right permits, so he had to apply for retrospective planning permission.

Showjumper Mr Oliver already holds a licence to keep big cats and is an experienced animal handler who has kept a puma called Rogue.

His neighbours were not happy with the lions next door and 14 objected to his plans.

They argued that the animals could put the public at risk and the enclosure would have a negative impact on the greenbelt. 

His neighbours were not happy with the lions next door and 14 objected to his plans. They argued that the animals could put the public at risk and the enclosure would have a negative impact on the greenbelt (Pictured: Reece with Rogue the puma)

His neighbours were not happy with the lions next door and 14 objected to his plans. They argued that the animals could put the public at risk and the enclosure would have a negative impact on the greenbelt (Pictured: Reece with Rogue the puma)

Others raised concerns about how close the lions would be to a public footpath making it ‘unsafe for residents of the village and other animals such as horses and domestic pets’.

Planning officers advised councillors to refuse permission but Mr Oliver said that the young lions faced being put down if he could not keep them.

Mr Oliver told the BBC: ‘I love those animals, they’re like children to me. It would have been like taking my children off me.’

Councillors backed Mr Oliver after deciding there would be a limited visual impact on the local area. 

Mr Oliver told the BBC: ¿I love those animals, they¿re like children to me. It would have been like taking my children off me¿

Mr Oliver told the BBC: ‘I love those animals, they’re like children to me. It would have been like taking my children off me’ 

Councillor David Watts told the Daily Telegraph: ‘In total I’ve sat on the planning committee for 16 years…This is by far the most unusual application we have dealt with.’

It is not the first time that Mr Oliver’s exotic pets have brought him attention. 

In January two vulnerable Humbolt penguins – native to South America – which he had bought, turned out to have been stolen from a zoo.

Despite his collection of big cats Mr Oliver said he has no intention to allow public access to Rocky and Rora, or open a zoo. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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