Daisy the pet alligator has its teeth brushed by owner Gwen Roberts. Gwen is interviewed by TV reporter Del Cooper about owning and looking after pet alligators at her home in St Keverne on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall. The word alligator comes from the Spanish word el lagarto meaning lizard. Alligators are native only to America and China but Chinese alligators are an endangered species. Taming exotic animals to become pets became fashionable in the 70s - although keeping them in cramped conditions in the bathtub, as Gwen does, is hopefully no longer acceptable.
The British Veterinary Association and the British Veterinary Zoological Society seek to improve regulations regarding the owning and welfare of exotic pets. Every year UK Border Force intercept many cargoes carrying exotic pets and for this reason there is even an Animal Rescue Centre at Heathrow Airport. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), an international agreement between governments, aims to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.