Why Justin Bieber's Cats Will Always Be Banned From Australia
They may be ultra exotic and have a celebrity for a father, but they will never be allowed in Australia.
Singer Justin Bieber owns two Savannah cats named Tuna and Sushi. The brother and sister duo have 483,000 followers on Instagram and are incredibly adorable.
Savannah Cats are a hybrid bred of cat-- typically between a domestic cat and a serval cat. They are bred in some counties as part of designer pet markets and are much larger than regular cats. Domestic Cats weigh roughly four kilos at full size, while Savannah Cats weigh 11.
They also have the ability to jump a whopping 2.5 metres from a standing position and can become aggressive towards humans and other animals by spraying urine to mark their territory.
Animals like Tuna and Sushi have been banned in Australia since 2008 due to the threat they pose to native wildlife and environments.
The ban came about when a commercial breeder applied to import Savannah Cats into Australia, however, the request was denied as the Australian government had limited information on the species at the time.
Now, new research published in the scientific journal Animals suggests the government made the correct decision when banning the animals nearly 12 years ago.
The research conducted by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub found that Savannah Cats would have quickly infiltrated Australia if they were released into the wild and would now be found in 97 percent of the nation.
This would have had disastrous impacts for 90 percent of Australia's native terrestrial mammal species according to the study's lead researcher Professor Chris Dickman.
The research team determined these figures by assuming the Savannah Cats would have the same diet, ecology and hunting behaviours as their parent species.
“We found that while domestic cats already prey on at least 151 species of native mammals in Australia, an additional 29 native mammal species would have come under threat from Savannah cats, which can hunt prey twice the size," Dickman said.
“Mammal species that live in trees, in dense vegetation and in swampy areas would also have come under more pressure."
The Dangers Of Designer Pets
The playful and adventurous nature of hybrid pets makes them both attractive to buyers and dangerous to flora and fauna.
Species like the Savannah cat are much bigger than regular cats and hunt a whole range of animals that their domestic cousins do not.
"We are just compounding the issue we already have with feral cats," researcher Professor John Woinarski from Charles Darwin University told 10 daily.
"Designer pets like Savannah Cats are attractive and alluring, but they are dangerous to some wildlife species and some environmental areas such as wetlands."
Breeding two animals together expands the possible diet and hunting style of the creature. While these can usually be predicted by looking at the parent animals of the cat, this doesn't help reduce the number of other animals at risk.
"Essentially if you are breeding with other spieces you will be expanding the range of animals that could be impacted," Woinarski said.
"It can be predicted according to the parent animals of the cat and what they typically hunt ... eventually, the different wildlife species in the animals will in turn impact different Australian wildlife."
Contact Siobhan at email@example.com