Animal Welfare

Rare wild cats have arrived

A rare and unusual species of wild cat native to Africa can now be seen in Australia, with biosecurity officers playing a key role in ensuring the cats arrived safely and did not pose a risk to our environment, plant, animal and human health.

Head of biosecurity operations at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Nico Padovan, said two caracals have joined the Wild Animal Encounter Conservation Centre in Hawkesbury, having passed quarantine inspections.

“Not many Australians will have heard of caracals, known for their impressive ears which have signature tufts of dark coloured hair on the points,” Mr Padovan said.

“Our biosecurity officers manage the imports of these animals to allow Australian zoos and conservation centres to import them safely, and minimise the risk of exotic diseases that threaten our agricultural industries.

“After completing their quarantine period, Kato and Kaia are settling into their new home well, and being the only caracals on display in Australia, will give wild cat enthusiasts a rare opportunity to see them in real life.

“Conservation centre visitors will now have the opportunity to learn about caracals first-hand, and gain a better understanding of what needs to be done to protect and preserve wild cat populations for future generations.

“It’s hoped that when the pair reaches maturity in 12 to 18 months, Kato and Kaia will produce the next generation of caracals.”

Last year the department also managed biosecurity arrangements for the import of two female ring-tailed lemurs from New Zealand to New South Wales’ Hunter Valley Zoo.