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

Head of biosecurity operations at the Department of Agriculture and WaterResources, Nico Padovan, said two caracals have joined the Wild AnimalEncounter Conservation Centre in Hawkesbury, having passed quarantineinspections.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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