Johannesburg - More and more people are illegally acquiring wild animals and keeping them as pets, the North West environmental affairs department said on Wednesday. Officials had come across examples among farmers and people living in rural areas during recent inspections, spokesperson Dumisa Seshabela said. The inspections were carried out on farms in the Morokweng, Tosca, and Bray areas around Vryburg in the North West. "The objective was to curb illegal trade and possession of wild animals, especially predators, without permit," said Seshabela. A man was arrested for keeping a lion as a pet in an unapproved facility on a farm. Another was given a fine after he was found in possession of a Caracal cat (also known as a desert lynx), also on a farm. Police conducted a road block in a bid to stop people from taking wild animals and plants from their natural habitats.