Savannah cat story

To: <>, "'Scot Mcphee'" <>
Subject: Savannah cat story
From: "Paul Dodd" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 12:31:52 +1000
Craig, I have downloaded the 2008 report and read it - quite an interesting

A few points that spring immediately to mind:

In section 1 ("Taxonomy of the original species used in the hybrid cross"),
the second paragraph reads -

"The Savannah Cat is not a species in itself but the taxon would be F. catus
X F. serval. At present, the Savannah Cat has not been classified as a breed
of Domestic Cat due to the absence of a stable generational cross that does
not vary substantially in the phenotypes (temperament and appearance) of the
offspring (Sino 1995-2008)."

My understanding of this (and I am not a biologist or geneticist by any
means!) is that to-date, it the attributes of the offspring of any
generation are unpredictable. In other words, it is not possible to tell if
the offspring will be more like a domestic cat OR a Serval. Which, to my
mind, is somewhat disturbing.

Additionally in this paragraph is the statement that the Savannah Cat has
not been classified as a domestic cat breed - which will be relevant

Section 2 ("Status and restrictions on movement of the Savannah Cat under
CITES") clearly states that the Serval IS listed under the CITES convention
and therefore is subject to import restrictions. The domestic cat is NOT
listed under CITES, and most telling, hybrids that are four or less
generations from the original cross with a species listed under CITES
(Serval) are also subject to the CITES provisions. This makes a lie of the
report by the US breeder that he was forced to produce fifth or greater
generation animals specifically to suit Australia's import restrictions -
CITES is an international convention - he would be forced to do that for
export to ANY CITES signatory country. And depending on local US laws, he
may even have trouble crossing State borders.

Section 11 ("Commonwealth, State and Territory legislative controls on the
Savannah Cat or specimens from which it originated") is the problem section.
It clearly agrees with Section 2 - that only fifth generation or more
removed from the Serval are not subject to the CITES restrictions.
Unfortunately it goes on to say that the Savannah Cat (assuming fifth
generation or more) IS considered to be a domestic cat and is able to be
imported. This contradicts section 1 which says that the Savannah Cat has
not been classified as a domestic cat breed.

Finally, Appendix 4, whilst not a basis for determining whether it is legal
or not to import the species, does paint quite a telling picture about the
expected results of importing Savannah Cats. "Risk posed by captive or
released individuals" - Moderately dangerous. "Establishment" (how suitable
conditions in Australia would be for the establishment of a feral
population) - Extreme. "Likelihood of becoming a pest" - Extreme.

The most important point of all, however is that this report is a DRAFT
report ("Draft environmental assessment of the suitability of the import of
the Savannah Cat (Domestic Cat x Serval hybrid specimens) into Australia 19
June 2008")!

If anyone is going to base a multi-million dollar business on a DRAFT
report, more fool them! This goes back to Bill Stent's observation on
sovereign risk.


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of

Sent: Tuesday, 5 August 2008 11:43 AM
To: Scot Mcphee
Cc: Birding Aus
Subject: Savannah cat story

Hi all,

Thought I might throw a little fuel into the mix on this one. After doing
a bit of reading, I smell rats rather than cats. I note that Penny Olsen
was involved with the 2007 risk assessment for the hybrid cat which seems
to raise the stakes a little from an ornithological angle. You can get
both the 2007 and 2008 reports from the "claimants" site,

My reading of the respective reports is that the 2007 report on which the
Parkers appear to be relying for evidence of approval does not come to
clear conclusions about risk potentials. Uncertainty of outcome is the end
line, and many of the details of both the 2007 and 2008 reports directly
contradict the claims being made to rather lazy journalists who do not
appear to be taking a
deeper interest in cross-checking the legal grounds of the compensation
whinge by these people.

And on another note, the story is gathering very strange, but completely
typical dimensions as the usual suspects and perpetrators of total
ignorance get on board to bash a change in government.

For instance, here is a quotation from the shooters party website which
asserts that the same "lies" used to "kill" "hunting"/shooting as a hobby
are being used to stop Savannah cat importation:

"The same tactics ie misinformation, questionable statics & flat out lies
used to kill your hobby are being used by the same people to kill the
introduction into Australia of this cat breed.

Make no mistakes, the people behind this agenda won't stop until everyone
is living in a cave & eating  Alfalfa sprouts."

I recommend anyone interested in the details taking a look over the
petition site in support of this business venture, which is all it is in
spite of the posturing about "love" of animals being used to legitimate a
rather dodgy importation argument. Some of the comments attached to
signatures attacking
Garrett as a Stalinist f****** **** commie are amusing; so are many from
poor people who support cat importation because of their
professed love of animals. Sad vapid creeps.



> Peter Shute wrote:
>> And perhaps if they manage to sue the government, it might discourage
>> government departments from giving approval for things that they
>> shouldn't, only to have the decision changed later.  I'm sure these
>> people wouldn't have put any money into the idea if they didn't think
>> they had approval.
> Has anyone determined yet - approval from whom? and for what? Because
> it's one thing for Customs to say that's OK by us to import this animal,
> another for the Department of the Environment to allow or ban certain
> species (there is two departments there). For example Environment could
> add a species to the CITES list, which then makes import/export illegal
> where previously it wasn't.
> Frankly as a matter of policy I think the default position for importing
> any species, or cross-breed, into Australia should be "banned" until
> explicitly approved rather than the other way around.
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