A beautiful male caracal was reported as injured in the Hout Bay area this week, with fears it had been attacked by dogs. The Wildlife Department of the Cape of Goodhope SPCA (CoGH SPCA) responded to what they thought was an exciting opportunity to work with one of Cape Town’s most elusive animals but it turned out to be a sad occasion.
Inspector Edward Julius arrived on scene to capture the cat and quickly realised it could not move its back legs.
“The caracal was admitted to our Animal Hospital where SPCA veterinarian Dr. Middleton sedated the caracal to examine the injuries and noted a fracture just behind the head (C1) and C1-C2 dislocation. While awaiting the X-ray results the caracal was administered with anti-inflammatories to alleviate any pain and discomfort,” SPCA spokesperson Tara McGovern said. “Sadly the X-rays revealed that the neck was broken and the decision was made to humanely euthanise the caracal.”
While the SPCA wishes the caracal could have made a full recovery, it has expressed gratitude to the members of the public who contacted the Wildlife Department.”Thanks to their call Inspector Julius was able to ensure this animal was not left to suffer,” McGovern said.
According to McGovern, the SPCA responds to approximately two or three reports of injured caracals across Cape Town per year, but has noted that the Wildlife Department has had to deal with three such cases in the past two weeks. “It is unclear why the caracals are moving closer to the city, as they usually stay within their roaming grounds in the Table Mountain National Park area,” she said. “There are residential areas that border the Park, however, such as Hout Bay and Constantia where those living there need to be careful when walking their dogs and such.”
She advises that smaller animals such as cats be kept indoors at night, as twilight is typically when caracals hunt for their meals. “Those who walk their dogs in these areas are also advised to keep their dogs on leashes, because they may sometimes chase caracals and cause them injury.”
“We urge the public to please ensure they keep an eye out for injured wildlife and take precautions to protect wildlife like caracals and other species. Simple measures such as keeping dogs on leads in areas where wildlife are known to be and driving at steady speeds will ensure that wild animal injuries are reduced,” McGovern added.
Please report any wild animals in distress to the SPCA Wildlife Department on 021 700 4158/9 or after-hours on 083 326 1604.
Picture: Supplied/CoGH SPCA