Hermes the caracal has quickly become one of Cape Town’s favourite red cats, and is frequently spotted in the city’s mountainous areas. Easily recognisable by the blue tag dangling from one of his ears, this adventurous caracal has won over the hearts of many nature-lovers.
He was most recently spotted frolicking in the Newlands Forest on Sunday, August 17, despite the rain.
According to the organisation, there have been more than 450 caracal sightings since 2015, but they have only recently begun putting them on social media to share.
Hermes was also spotted enjoying the beautiful views of the Mother City as he sat perched on a rock on Saturday, August 15.
“Conservation Intern Taahirah Sait was investigating Lions Head, she had the amazing opportunity to spot Hermes overlooking the City Bowl! We love this picture because it shows the beauty of Table Mountain the background, and the extreme slopes caracals are able to ascend. Interestingly, he was sighted in Newlands Forest just the next day, highlighting how far these guys can move in just one day!” the Urban Caracal Project said.
On August 4, the caracal was spotted showing off his impressive skills of balance as he walked a narrow pipe over a ravine on Table Mountain.
“Caracals, like all cats, rely on their agility and sense of balance to land on their feet when leaping to catch prey like birds in mid-air. They are also good climbers, regularly scaling rocky outcrops to hunt dassies. This makes it easier for Hermes to walk along this narrow pipe but it is no less impressive!” the Urban Caracal Project explained.
Hermes was again spotted on August 7, by teen hiker Justin Waddy and a group of his friends.
“The experience was extraordinary, a result of the cold temperatures (as I’m sure they’re usually nocturnal) and chance. He was an exquisite cat. The key takeaway for us was understanding that we constantly live in harmony with nature. We immediately submitted our spotting to the Urban Caracal Project, a Cape Town-based conservation organisation who identified him as ‘Hermes’. It’s not impossible that you’ll spot him, recognisable by his blue tagged ear, on Table Mountain. Remember to stay aware, ensure your dog is on a collar and look out – Hermes seems to love showing off,” said Waddy at the time.
July seemed to be the time for romance for Hermes, as he was caught on camera having a peaceful picnic with another caracal.
A number of lucky hikers spotted the curious couple perched on a rock together and Gary Biederman managed to capture a video of the two. The Urban Caracal Project suspected that the pair were perhaps hunting guinea fowl together but noted how comfortable the birds were with the presence of predators.
On this beautiful morning, it seems Hermes is on a picnic date! A number of people were lucky enough to see him bright and early near Lion’s Head! Guinea fowl are a favorite prey of caracals. Although the guinea fowl seem to be relatively comfortable with the caracals in this video, the guinea fowl are actually alarm calling and confronting their potential predators. Another cool thing this video shows is what we start to see around this time of year…two caracals at once! But this is the time of year that caracals typically court eac hother, so it’s not too surprising. The gestation period for caracals is around 75 days, and we generally see kittens born around early October through December. The males do not help care for the young but we are hoping that Hermes fathers some very cool kittens! Go Hermes!
Thank you Gary Biederman for this awesome footage!
Posted by Urban Caracal Project, Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday, July 19, 2020
On July 9, the adorable caracal was also spotted taking time to groom himself in the sun at Kloof Corner. “He’s most often seen in Front Table and along the Pipe Track,” said Dr Laurel Serieys, Project Coordinator at the Urban Caracal Project.
Hermes is at it again! This week he gave a hiker quite a show while both took advantage of a beautiful sunny day. Hermes illustrates that wild cats are just everyday cats too…grooming just like any normal cat!
We would like to take this opportunity to highlight the support provided to the Urban Caracal Project by Big Cat Rescue @bigcatrescue. This organization has provided us with much needed funding at times of special need, but also serve as an inspiration with their work rescuing captive wild cat species in miserable conditions. We thank Big Cat Rescue for the critical work they do and their ongoing support. Check them out and support their cause if you can!
Thank you Nicholas van Doesburgh @nic.vandoesburgh for your amazing video!
Posted by Urban Caracal Project, Cape Town, South Africa on Thursday, July 9, 2020
Picture: Urban Caracal Project