The Mother City is no stranger to caracal spottings, the most famous of them being fan-favourite Hermes. While most of the Western Cape’s caracals are tagged and identified, a new caracal has just been spotted.
In a Facebook Post, the Urban Caracal Project shared images of a recent sighting of an untagged caracal seen in Oudekraal Ravine near the 12 Apostles.
“This caracal was never captured by us during our trapping efforts, which is why it does not have ear tags. Caracals do not have easily visible uniquely identifying physical features, and so without the tags, it’s impossible to know if this is a caracal that has been spotted in the past, or will be spotted again in the future,” the organisation writes on Facebook.
“This highlights how the ear tags help us gather valuable information even long after collars have been removed. The unique colors of ear tags allow us to identify individuals with known histories, ages and sex as they are spotted in various parts of the mountain.”
According to the Project, the actual number of caracals in the wild is unknown, and so a thorough assessment of their population status is not possible. They are widely distributed throughout North Africa and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, numbers have been drastically reduced except in South Africa and Namibia, where their range is expanding due to extirpation of black-backed jackals by farmers.
In southern Africa, especially South Africa and Namibia, the caracal is seen as a ‘problem animal’ or a livestock killer and they are heavily persecuted in farming communities in particular. Caracals are also threatened by severe habitat loss as people move further into their territory and their prey species are driven out. Hunting for skins and ‘luxury’ bushmeat is a threat to this species in Central and West Africa.
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Picture: Facebook/The Urban Caracal Project