Thursday, 28 August 2008
Savannah cat ban in Australia
Garrett bans cats with 'wild' genes
August 03, 2008 12:00am
A DOMESTIC cat with the temperament and genes of a wild animal has been banned from Australia.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett has banned the hybrid savannah cat, which costs $5000, because it poses a threat to Australia's native animals.
The first group of 15 savannah cats, descendants of Africa's serval wildcat and due to arrive in Australia this year, are in quarantine in the US.
Mr Garrett has changed the definition of domestic cat to rule out cats with the serval's genes.
"On all the evidence I have seen, the risks associated with allowing this cross-bred cat into the country, when we already have up to 12 million feral cats wreaking havoc on native fauna, are simply too great," he said.
He said advice suggested the animal might have "the more efficient hunting traits" of the serval.
Conservationists, including the RSPCA, have warned that introducing the wild cats would threaten native wildlife, such as koalas.
But a Victorian breeder, who has spent more than $60,000 trying to bring savannah cats to Australia, wants compensation.
Yesterday, Savannahs Australia's Chris Winchester, of Pearcedale, said Mr Garrett was "trying to score brownie points because he didn't support the whaling (issue) as much as he should have".
"He just wants to look good in front of the public," Mr Winchester said.
Mr Garrett received about 500 public submissions opposing the importation of the cat.
Posted by RR at 11:12