Caracal spotted strolling the streets of Simon’s Town

Lockdown: Caracal spotted strolling the streets of Simon’s Town

Locals were given a once-in-a-lifetime experience after spotting the elusive caracal as it walked through the Murdock Valley.

Caracal spotted strolling the streets of Simon’s Town

Image via Yolandé Oelsen

A caracal was spotted casually strolling the main road in Murdock Valley, Simon’s Town earlier on Tuesday 12 May.   

Yolandé Oelsen, a Facebook member of the Simon’s Town Community page shared the incredible images of the rare sighting. 

“‘As die kat weg is, is die muis baas.’ No wait… That’s not right. If the humans are in lockdown, the cat is boss. I finally saw this beautiful resident this morning. He came walking calmly down the road, into the undergrowth and appeared on the rocks across from us, chasing dassies, who loudly protested,” shared Oelsen.

Caracal spotted strolling the streets of Simon’s Town

Image via Yolandé Oelsen

FREEDOM IN LOCKDOWN

Although these wild cats are often spotted around Table Mountain and other areas, they are known to be elusive and are cautious around humans. Also, these felines are known for their solitary behaviour and are often spotted alone. 

Almost as if the caracal is aware of the attention she garnered by nearby viewers, Oelsen adds that they spotted the wild cat later in the day as he put on a “show” looking straight at the camera.

“And around 17:00, his normal showtime, we checked again and there he sat right across from our house soaking up the winter sun. He then proceeded to walk down the road again, crossed the road and went up the valley.”

Caracal spotted strolling the streets of Simon’s Town

Image via Yolandé Oelsen

UNDERSTANDING CARACALS 

The word caracal has its roots within in Turkish word karakulak which directly translated means “black ear”. 

Often found in various parts of Africa, Southwestern Asia and the Middle East, the caracal can be predominately found in the Eastern Cape. These medium-sized cats are also referred to as the rooikat or lynx. 

Contrary to popular belief, these beautiful creatures create a purr-like sound like that of a domestic cat. The purring noise is often used to communicate a sense of content.

Urbanisation is currently the biggest threat to the population numbers of these wild cats. Caracals are viewed as threats to livestock and are often killed in farming communities. 

During the lockdown period, caracals have been spotted in various locations across Cape Town. Members of the public are encouraged to share their sightings of caracals to the Urban Caracal Project, an organisation based in the Western Cape that focuses on the conservation and study of wild caracals.

Reporting the sightings will aid the organisation in understanding possible threats to the caracal population in the urban environment. 

by Ishani Chetty
Source: www.thesouthafrican.com

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