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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Savannah cat banned

Media release
3 August 2008

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Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has banned the Savannah cat from being brought into Australia finding it poses an extreme risk to Australia’s environment and biodiversity.

Mr Garrett used his powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 to amend the Act’s live import list to change the definition of domestic cat to rule out cats with the genes of the African wildcat, the Serval.

“On all the evidence that 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. That is why I have banned the import of these cats immediately.

“The scientific assessment presented to me found that the Savannah Cat posed an extreme threat to Australia’s native wildlife and the advice suggests each generation could retain the more efficient hunting traits of the wild African Serval.

“My decision follows over 500 submissions from interest groups and the general public, petitions calling on me to take this action with thousands of signatures as well as consultation with the states and territories, in addition to the scientific report.

“The submissions I received during the public comment period were overwhelming in their support to stop the importation of the Savannah cat. Of the 549 submissions received, 526 supported the proposed amendment..”

Mr Garrett said he would not hesitate to use his powers under the EPBC Act to prevent the live import of any species or breed that poses a significant risk to the Australian environment or wildlife.

“My role as Federal Environment Minister is to make decisions based on the best possible outcome for the Australian environment. I have an obligation under the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect Australia’s biodiversity and I take that responsibility very seriously.”

Commonwealth of Australia