An Italian minister who revealed he is keeping wolves as pets told authorities on Wednesday to feel free to come and investigate as he always needed "fresh meat".
Animal rights groups have accused Reforms Minister Roberto Calderoli of breaking the law by owning wild animals and the Forest Department has promised to look into the affair.
"If anyone wants to visually ascertain what type（of wolves）they are, they're welcome. We always need fresh meat," he responded in Corriere della Sera.
Calderoli, a firebrand leader of the populist Northern League party, told La Stampa daily earlier this week he had the experience needed to look after the wolf cubs and had previously kept a tiger.
"I know how to manage them. Here in the villa, in Bergamo, I had a tiger for a year," he said, adding that he eventually had to get rid of the tiger because it ate a dog.
He could face up to eight months in jail for illegal possession of wild animals.
"He is a minister and should set a good example, not put himself on the same level as traffickers in endangered species," said Giovanni Guadagna, with Italy's anti-vivisection league.