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The Caracal - An Elusive Wild Cat

Caracal

Caracal Close Up

Caracal Close Up

General Information

The caracal is a beautiful and elusive wild cat that lives in Africa, Arabia, central Asia and central India. The caracal is a medium sized wild cat and is noted for it’s beautiful elongated, tufted black ears. The male caracal will weigh between 30 and 40 pounds while the female weight around 25 to 30 pounds. They are approximately 25 to 35 inches in length and have a tail that is about one-third of their body length. The word caracal comes from the Turkish word, karakulak, for “black ear”. The caracal belongs to a lineage that dates back almost nine and a half million years, which makes it one of the oldest memebers of the family, felidae. Little is known about the caracal as they are rarely seen in the wild.

Caracal

the-caracal-an-elusive-wild-cat

Caracal Population Falling

However, recently, their population in the farmlands of southern Nambia are beginning to suffer. Instead of them being the hunter, they are being the hunted. By what you ask, by livestock farmers and ranchers.

Livestock farmers and ranchers are blaming the caracal for the killing of some of their livestock. What the livestock farmers in Nambia do not understand is that the caracal has a specific diet and livestock is not one of their preferences. They can actually be easily deterred from preying on livestock.

Caracal's Prey

Caracals main prey are hydrax, hares and birds. However, they have been known to prey on chickens, young sheep and goats. What the farmers don’t know is that the caracals that are not preying on the livestock actually protect the region from other predators that do, such as wild dogs and other smaller predators. The caracal is best known for it’s skill in hunting birds. It is able to leap up and snatch a bird right out of the air. They are surprisingly easy to tame and because of their skill in hunting birds, this has led to many caracals being trained to hunt game birds for the Persian and Indian royalty.

Caracal at Big Cat Rescue Center

Shoot on Site

Livestock farmers and ranchers have re-acted with a “shoot on sight” attitude. A young researcher who has been working with the caracals, had radio collared several of her cats to track where and what they are hunting. One of her cats was shot and killed on a nearby farm when it was seen just crossing the territory. The collar showed the caracal was not preying on the neighbors livestock. Some ranchers are also using traps similar to bear traps that will snap shut on the leg of any animal that steps into the trap. This animal, whatever it may be, is left to die a slow death due to slow blood loss, dehydration or from another predator. This is most definitely not the right answer.

Caracal Cat

Notice the pointed heat and black tufted ears.

Notice the pointed heat and black tufted ears.

Raising Awareness

There is currently a documentary conservation project in the works to raise awareness of the role of the caracal in the Nambian area. The documentary will highlight the work being done by this researcher to raise awareness and educate the locals about the caracal. If the population of caracals is decimated, the regulatory system for the area will lose its main predator and there will be an even larger loss of livestock. The conservation project has been successful in raising more than $5,000. to help them with the documentary. As a result of the plight of the caracal being brought to the forefront, many of the ranchers have already welcomed the researchers and are ready to talk.


Summary

The caracal is a beautiful and elusive wild cat and an excellent hunter. They are just one of the many species of wild cat for us to enjoy and appreciate. Remember, it is still a wild animal. It is not recommended to keep a caracal as a pet.

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Comments

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on June 18, 2013:

Hello Rose! I'm so glad you enjoyed my article. Actually the only picture that I took was the first one. The caracal was behind at chain link fence at the time and the other pictures were just not very good, so I had to depend on the internet for the rest. I hope to get back to the park this year and take better pictures. Thank you for your kind comment and vote, it is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day! :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on June 18, 2013:

Hi Peggy! I was also unfamiliar with the caracal until I saw this one at a wild animals rescue park near here. I thought they were just beautiful! When I was researching them I found where they were being shot on sight by these farmers and ranchers, who just think they are killing their livestock. It is such a shame! I think the organization that is trying to help them is making some headway with the ranchers. Thank you for such a wonderful comment and all your support! Have a wonderful day, my friend! :)

rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on June 18, 2013:

A very informative and extremely interesting article on the Caracal cat. Your images are breathtaking. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 18, 2013:

Thank you Sheila for introducing me to a cat of which I was unfamiliar. The Caracal is a beautiful cat and such a shame that some farmers are killing them off and for the wrong reasons. I hope that they become educated about the value of letting these majestic animals live side by side with their farm animals. That video was excellent. Thanks! Up votes, sharing and pinning.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on February 24, 2013:

Hello shin_rocka04! I'm glad you enjoyed my hub about the caracal. I'm happy to share a little knowledge with you too! Thank you for your comment and vote! It is always appreciated. Have a great day! :)

shin_rocka04 from Maryland on February 24, 2013:

This is a pretty cool hub talking about a cat I knew nothing of before this post. A very cool and exotic looking creature. Voting up.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on February 14, 2013:

Hi moonlake! They are such beautiful cats. The ranchers are beginning to listen and hopefully are realizing that it is not the caracal that is killing their livestock. I would hate to see the caracal obliterated in that area. Thank you for comment and votes! Have a Happy Valentine's Day! :)

moonlake from America on February 14, 2013:

Beautiful cat I would hate to see them gone. They should be protected. Voted up and interesting.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on February 12, 2013:

Hello Thomas. My inteded focus was the conservation issues these cats are facing. They are lucky they are do adaptable. I really enjoyed your article. Thank you for viewing mine and leaving a comment, it is greatly appreciated. Have a wonderful day! :)

Thomas Swan from New Zealand on February 12, 2013:

Great hub that mirrors some of my own research on these animals. I like that you mention the 9 million year lineage. You also concentrate on the conservation issues, which I have talked less about. These animals are lucky they can thrive in so many habitats, otherwise their very existence as a species could be threatened by these farmers.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 28, 2012:

Hello Angela. I should include a better description of the caracal in my hub, I will fix that shortly. They are a little larger than a bobcat. They are similar in size to the lynx. A male caracal will weigh in between 30 and 40 pounds and a female about 20 to 25 pounds. Thank you for stopping in, reading and commenting on my hub, it is greatly appreciated. Have a wonderful day! :)

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on May 27, 2012:

I have seen pictures of them before but, did not know of their location & that they are easy to train. I am having a difficult time envisioning what size they are? Are they about the size of a bob cat? Do you know? Thanks this was a great article!

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 21, 2012:

Kenneth, you are VERY welcome! Thank you so much for your kind words, they are very much appreciated. Have a wonderful day!

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on May 21, 2012:

dear sg,

"Thank YOU, for your sweet and encouraging comment to me." "Followers such as yourself are major blessings in my life. And I appreciate YOU very much for your warm spirit, talented keyboard and hubs like this one." "Keep the great hubs coming."

Your Friend,

Kenneth

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 19, 2012:

Hello Kenneth! I have been on vacation for the last 5 days without internet. I have been able to do a little on my cell phone, but you left me such a wonderful comment here, I wanted to wait to reply until I could leave you a reply you deserve. First of all I want to thank you for your kind comment and votes. I am glad you found my hub interesting, I love big cats too! I love the name Festus for your cat, too cute. I have read a couple of your hubs and they are very good. I believe I did follow you, but I will be sure now that I can get on a real computer. I am happy to be one your followers as you have some very good and interesting hubs. Thank you so much for such a wonderful comment! I hope you have a great day! :)

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on May 17, 2012:

Hello, sg,

wonderful read here. Voted up and all the way. I was never aware of this animal before reading your hub. I love cats, and have one named Festus, my sidekick, but I really love big cats like this one.

I am proud to meet you and become your follower. I invite you to check out a few of my hubs and be one of my cherished-followers.

I would appreciate that and wish you lots of success and happiness.

Your Friend,

Kenneth Avery, from Hamilton, a small town in northwest Alabama.

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 06, 2012:

Hello angela_michelle. I am always happy to meet another animal lover. There are people out there that are beginning to make a difference for the caracal. Thank you for you stopping by and commenting, it is always appreciated! Have a wonderful day! :)

Angela Michelle Schultz from United States on May 06, 2012:

I am a huge animal enthusiast, and loved this article. I also have a heart for endangered animals. This was a great article, and no I had never heard of this animal before. :)

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 05, 2012:

Hello AnimalWrites. The researcher and the photo-journalist have already made great strides with the famers and are talking about ways to keep the caracal from getting their livestock without killing them. Thank you for your concern and your kind comment. Have a wonderful day! :)

AnimalWrites from Planet Earth on May 05, 2012:

The caracal is a beautiful wild cat and it would be a tragedy if they were driven to extinction. But farmers who are struggling to feed their families will always be intolerant of predators taking their livestock, so it is up to the Namibian government to protect these wonderful cats

Sheila Brown (author) from Southern Oklahoma on May 04, 2012:

Hello brackenb. I am glad you enjoyed my article. Thank you for your kind words and vote up. It is always appreciated. Have a wonderful day! :)

brackenb on May 02, 2012:

A really interesting article. Thank you. Voted up and interesting.

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