MEET THE CATS

An important element of research like the Urban Caracal Project is using charismatic focal species as conduits for the general public and residents local to the study area to connect with backyard biodiversity. Getting to know the individuals in a study is a great way to do this! Here we will post information about each of our study animals, but to protect these individuals, we cannot put exact movement data or capture locations on the website while the animals are radio-collared or alive. If there is other information you are curious about, however, please feel free to contact Dr. Laurel Serieys (caracal@capeleopard.org.za), and this will help Laurel cater the information to your desires!

LADUMA (Caracal #01, TMC01)

Laduma spotted in Kirstenbosch Gardens in February 2016. We are able to identify that it is him because of his ear tag color combination (green on left ear, red on right ear).  

The picture is of Laduma at the time of capture, anesthetized so that we could place a radio-collar on him. In this picture, you can see a biologist, with the assistance of a trained vet (not shown), monitoring his respiration to ensure his safety during the handling process, which lasted only one hour. The collar will remain only for 6 months, at which time it will automatically fall off of him. Therefore, we also ear-tagged him so that using remote wildlife cameras in Table Mountain, we will be able to continue to non-invasively continue to monitor some of his movements and survivorship. Ice packs were placed on him to ensure that his temperature (monitored every 5-10 minutes) remained within the normal range.

Table Mountain Caracal #01 (TMC01), aka 'Laduma' is the first caracal that was humanely captured and radio-collared as part of the Urban Caracal Project. He is a healthy, older, adult male who weighed 13.1kg when captured at Front Table. He had slight scarring on his face, suggesting that he has "been around the block!" but otherwise his coat was beautiful and he appeared to be in great body condition. He was fitted with a GPS-enabled radio-collar and we tracked his movements to learn how he was using the mountains. Much to our surprise, with data collected for a very short period of time, we found that he regularly used the entirety of Table Mountain from the Orangekloof area north to Front Table and Signal Hill, east to the Newlands Forest and Rhodes Memorial area, and west to above Camps Bay!  And interestingly, about one week before the March fires, he also ventured into Constantia. Surprisingly, he stayed in the Constantia area even as the fires raged, possibly "hunkered down" to avoid the flames and heat, leaving the area to head back towards Back Table area only a week after the fire. We are lucky that we were able to capture and radio-collar this individual to be able to track how one caracal, who is clearly a survivor in the harsh Table Mountain environment, adapts and responds to an environment stressed by human activity. The collar was scheduled to remain on Laduma only for 6 months, at which time it was to automatically fall off of him. Therefore, we also ear-tagged him so that using remote wildlife cameras in Table Mountain, we will be able to continue to non-invasively continue to monitor some of his movements and survivorship.

Laduma spotted in Orange Kloof with a lucky photo captured with a 

Laduma was radio-collared for a total of 162 days with 2,242 GPS points collected!  At the end, we observed that he used an impressively large area comprised of approximately 139 square kilometers! That's massive when considering that Table Mountain National Park and surrounding green spaces within the city only offer approximately 220 square kilometers of suitable caracal habitat! We learned a lot from this adult male, including the resilience of these animals in the face of the massive fires, and that they can survive in areas immediately post-fire. We also learned that some caracals are able to cross roads regularly, including what we predict are formidable barriers such as De Waal and the M3. 

Laduma's radio-collar was generously sponsored by Cape Leopard Trust.


SAVANNAH (Caracal #02, TMC02)

Savannah at the time of her humane capture in the Front Table area.

'Savannah,' or TMC#02, was a young adult female caracal radio-collared in December 2014 near the King's Blockhouse. She weighed 8.1 kg and was recaptured 2 weeks after her initial capture at Rhodes Memorial, but was immediately released because we did not need additional samples from her. Within three weeks of radio-collaring, she was found dead near Rhodes Memorial. During that time, we observed her movements and found that she used the Antelope Paddock area, below Plum Pudding Hill (on Front Table), south to Rhodes Memorial. However, 3 weeks (or 111 GPS locations collected) is insufficient time to determine the entire home range of an individual, so she likely used an area much larger than that.

Click to enlarge.

Her body was in an advanced state of decomposition and had been scavenged when we found her, so are unsure her cause of death. We suspected being hit by a car, but are unfortunately uncertain. 

Savannah's radio-collar was generously sponsored by Cape Leopard Trust


FIRE LILY (Caracal #03, TMC03)

Fire Lily at the time of her capture in Noordhoek.

Fire Lily was captured on March 27, 2015 near the Noordhoek wetlands area. She is an old adult female (exact age cannot be determined with most wild cat species), estimated to be at least 7 years old, but is likely older. Her name was chosen as a symbol of hope and rejuvenation post-fire, and as an older cat clearly withstanding the challenges of living in fragmented habitat stressed by human-development.

She weighed 7.8 kg, and had a lower body condition than we observed for Laduma or Savannah.  This may be related to her age, or that she has clearly been reproductive, having at least one litter of kittens, but likely more! The area she used while radio-collared exclusively encompassed the Noordhoek wetlands (approximately 40 square kilometers), and we have GPS locations for her in tidal pools on the beach! There we discovered that she hunts shorebirds on the Noordhoek beach.

Fire Lily is no longer radio-collared with more than 4,000 GPS locations collected for her!  We have sampled some individuals we believe to be her offspring (TMC05, TMC11, TMC21 and TMC22), and so we are conducting genetic testing at the University of California in Los Angeles to determine her relationship to other cats we've caught in the Noordhoek wetlands. 

Fire Lily's radio-collar was generously sponsored by Cape Leopard Trust.


RATEL (Caracal #04, TMC04)

Caught on March 30, 2015, this large adult male, weighing 12.4kg was captured in the Orangekloof area.  It was a testament of the will....traps were in that area for months(!) with not a single cat even walking by our traps. We have learned that in some areas, caracal densities are particularly low, and you may not see a caracal in an area for weeks at a time. At the moment, much to our surprise, Orangekloof, despite reports of frequent caracal sightings, seems to be one of those areas. However, in the morning, at 8:30am we captured Ratel. He was one feisty cat, and given his fierceness, we felt Ratel (meaning 'honey badger' in Afrikaans) a very fitting name.

Ratel was radio-collared for 132 days with 1,682 GPS locations collected on his movements. He ranged from Front Table all the way to Kalk Bay, showing once again how far these adult males can move! His range overlapped with Laduma and Oryx's range, which could be unusual for dominant adult solitary male wild cats, but too little is known about these caracals in the urban system.

Ratel's radio-collar was generously sponsored by Justin O'Riain at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.


KATJIE (Caracal #05, TMC05)

Katjie was caught in the Noordhoek wetlands, in the same trap Fire Lily was captured. We suspect that Katjie (meaning 'kitten' in Afrikaans) was Fire Lily's offspring. She was estimated to be approximately 5 months old when captured and weighed 3.5kg.  Katjie's story is a sad one. Shortly after captured, we discovered her dead in the study area. We were fortunate to be able to perform a necropsy on her shortly after her death, and cause of death was suspected complications associated with rat poisons exposure. Her story was featured in one of our infographics.  She was too young to radio-collar, but we were lucky to have the opportunity to document death due to suspected pesticide exposure. Interestingly, the following year, we recovered the body of another young caracal, possibly Katjie's sibling. Although the body of that caracal was too decomposed to determine cause of death, it died in a bush near Lake Michele, suggesting either disease or pesticide exposure the responsible agent.  

Rat poison exposure is a common problem in carnivores in other parts of the world (see infographic). We recommend, instead, taking prophylactic measures: seal holes in homes where rodents can enter, do NOT feed and water birds or other wildlife as this will attract rodents, remove thick vegetation around your homes where rodents may find shelter, and if necessary, use mechanical methods such as snap traps to control rodents found in the home. For more information about these poisons, see Dr. Serieys's website featuring some of the work she did prior to the Urban Caracal Project (http://www.urbancarnivores.com/poisons/).


ORYX (Caracal #06, TMC06)

Oryx as he was being released, post-capture and radiocollaring.

Caught on April 14, 2015, this large adult male, weighing 13.0 kg was captured in the Orangekloof area. Like for Ratel, it was a testament of the will....traps were in that area for months waiting for this big boy to walk by! He was also extremely feisty- more so than any other cat so far. We are learning that these adult males, in particular, are very fierce when captured, and so far, although we have a small sample size, it seems that the older the individual, the more active they are in the traps. These observations also point to something Dr. Serieys has observed after more than 10 years of humane trapping of carnivores for research purposes- each species seems to have their own personality, and Oryx attests to a special personality quality that caracals have. 

Oryx's movement range overlapped extensively with both Ratel's and Laduma's ranges, which is fascinating and exciting for us to document! As presumably solitary, territorial species, we'd expect that such large, apparently dominant, male caracals would exclude each other from their territories.  But like Laduma and like Ratel, so far, this older male caracal uses the areas north of Hout Bay Road (from Back to Front Table).  Interestingly as well, we have observed Oryx to be in close proximity for periods of days to both Ratel and Laduma, even when Ratel was spotted in Orangekloof with what we think was likely a female caracal (she was not radio-collared).  Because so little is known about caracals in general, we are unsure the significance of these observations, but very cool data- and potentially, we are observing the effects of isolation by urbanization resulting in increased overlap in the territories of males!  Oryx was radio-collared for just 81 days unfortunately, but nearly 700 GPS locations were collected for him.

Oryx's radio-collar was generously sponsored by Justin O'Riain at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.


WEST (Caracal #07, TMC07)

A photo captured of West before he was captured, shown here having hunted, and captured, a guinea fowl for dinner! Photo credit: City of Cape Town

West was our first young male radio-collared. He was captured on April 17, 2015 in Westlake. He was an estimated 1-2 years old individual and weighed 8.0kg at the time of capture. His weight alone suggests that he was not full grown, but he was also smaller in size in comparison to adult males Laduma (13.1 kg), Ratel (12.9 kg), and Oryx (13.0 kg). In order to radio-collar West, we partnered with the City of Cape Town who we've been lucky have shown great interest and excitement for the Urban Caracal Project! At the Westlake Conservation Office, city staff were aware that at least one caracal uses the property and so they allowed us to set a trap in the area.  After a few weeks of frustrated waiting, we finally captured West in the afternoon, indicating that West was moving through this highly visible area even during the day...unseen! 

A photo of West as he walks away from his capture site. 

West was radio-collared for 100 days, during which time 1,339 GPS locations were collected. He primarily remained near Steenberg area and the Westlake Conservation Office, but on occasion he has ventured into more developed areas in Constantia, possibly searching for an unoccupied territory to establish for himself. 

West's radio-collar was generously sponsored by Cape Leopard Trust.


JASPER (Caracal #08, TMC08)

Jasper being released after his capture in April.

Jasper was captured on April 30, 2015 in the Front Table area near the Antelope Paddocks. The Cape Town caracals really seem to love that area! It is very open and grassy, and we believe that they have strong preference for the area because there is a lot of rodent activity in the grass!  

Jasper was recaptured a couple weeks after his initial capture.

He was another one of our young males between the age of 1–2 years old.  We were very excited to catch such a young male because he was just old enough to radio-collar, though we did have to line his collar with white foam (visible in the first photo) to make it fit just right. At this age, wild cats are approaching 'dispersal' age- meaning an age that they are searching for their own unoccupied territory to establish. Therefore they may be bolder in entering urban areas during this search. They may also proactively avoid encounters with older males which can also be exhibited in their movement patterns.  We are aware of at least three other adult males that use the area he was captured, and seems to prefer (Laduma, Ratel, and Oryx), and so with Jasper's data, we have the opportunity to learn more about how young males use the landscape in the face of being regularly confronted by older 'dominant' males.

Jasper takes off after being released after his second capture!

Jasper was hit by a car on the M3 on July 17. He was radio-collared only 79 days, but during that time, we collected 1,294 GPS locations for him. He crossed the M3, a major road that borders Table Mountain National Park, with great frequency, but this is ultimately what led to his death.  His death is discussed in a blog written by Dr. Laurel Serieys (Project Coordinator), and his story was featured in multiple news outlets, including Africa Geographic.

Jasper's radio-collar was sponsored by Dan and Susan Gottlieb of the G2 Gallery in Venice, California.


MARINE (Caracal #09, TMC09)

Marine proving just how tough she is with a snarl when she "met" Dr. Serieys.

Females have been rarer catches in Table Mountain National Park but on May 5, 2015, we were thrilled to capture our third adult female! She was a quite a cool catch with a bit of backstory. Three males are known to use Orangekloof, and so we just knew there had to be some sort of "hot mama" of a female there luring those males into the area. So we went on a mission to catch this elusive female. Without knowing exactly what areas she was using, and where we'd most likely be able to capture her, we relied on maps of the movements of our males Laduma, Ratel, and Oryx, assuming they would prefer the areas where they were likely to encounter her! She is the largest female we've seen and weighed almost 9kg! 

After radio-collaring her, we observed her to use Orangekloof, but also to cross Hout Bay road and move all the way to Steenberg!  In September, her radio-collar ran out of batteries and despite efforts to recapture her, we were unable to do so. We captured a photo of her on a remote camera in the Constantia area and saw that she was pregnant, so we were especially disappointed to not be able to collect data on her while she tended her kittens. In October, she was hit by a car in Tokai. We confirmed that she was lactating, and thus was tending kittens that died as a result of her death. This is just one of the unfortunate realities for these cats in the human-dominated environment. And in Marine's case, her death had a disproportionate impact on the population because her kittens also died as a result.  

Marine's radio-collar was sponsored by Dan and Susan Gottlieb of the G2 Gallery in Venice, California.


ATTICUS (Caracal #10, TMC10)
Atticus was captured during the evening on July 26, 2015 in the Noordhoek wetlands area, making him the 3rd cat we caught in the same trap site!  Weighing 11.1kg, Atticus was one of our larger male caracals. Living in the wetlands, we found a lot of ticks on him, but otherwise, he looked to be in great condition. Interestingly, he had pink scarring on his paws, suggesting that he may have burned his feet during the March fires. He was no longer radio-collared have observed him to use recently burned areas in Silvermine and Noordhoek. His movements after he was radio-collared were featured in an infographic. Combined with the evidence of scarring on his paws, it suggests that he was near where the fires took place, and may have burnt his paws on hot embers before the ground cooled off post-fire. In total, Atticus was radio-collared for 164 days, and we discovered that he had quite a penchant for preying in high cliffy areas on dassies! 

Atticus's radio-collar was generously sponsored by Marine Drouilly and Justin O'Riain at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.


BERG WIND (Caracal #11, TMC11)
Berg Wind was captured on August 7, 2015 in the Noordhoek area. He is a younger male estimated to be 2-3 years old because he at 7.5 kg, he weighs considerably less than our larger males. 

Similar to West (TMC07) and Jasper (TMC08), Berg Wind was likely near ‘dispersal' age, during which time he would be searching for his own unoccupied territory to establish. We suspect he was Fire Lily's (TMC03) offspring, though only genetic testing (under way) will confirm this potential relationship. But interestingly, he spent a lot of time near Fire Lily, although he did venture out of the wetlands as well.  

Berg Wind found dead near a reservoir in Noordhoek.

We were eager to learn more about how Fire Lily, Berg Wind, and Atticus share the Noordhoek wetlands, but on October 4, 2015, after 55 days radio-collared, Berg Wind was found dead in the Kommetjie area near a reservoir. The cause of death is unknown, but interestingly, he was very emaciated and lost roughly 43% of his body weight since he was captured in August! Samples were collected for disease and pesticide testing, and we are consulting with veterinarians to try to determine the source of mortality for Berg Wind.  Without having Berg Wind radio-collared, his body never would have been discovered, and so the radio-collar filled an important task in allowing us to recover Berg Wind's body in sufficient time to learn why he died, and critical threats to caracals in the Cape Peninsula.

Berg Wind's radio-collar was generously sponsored by Ginny Povall of Botanica Wines


MADALA (Caracal #12, TMC12)
Madala, whose name comes from the Nguni languages and respectfully means ‘old man,’ was captured on August 24, 2015 near the Silvermine Area that burned in March. He is one of our oldest caracals caught to date, based on extreme tooth wear and facial scaring, and is estimated to be between 10-13 years of age! He weighed 11.9kg. 

Although our ‘old man's’ teeth are but worn to nubs, we've observed him to be a successful hunter still!  Through our diet study, we have discovered he sometimes preys on birds and squirrels. As we've seen with other adult males, the area Madala uses is much larger than the areas adult females and juvenile males use. So far, although we predicted he'd travel all the way to Cape Point, so far we've seen him in areas from Constantia all the way to Kommetjie!

Madala's radio-collar was generously sponsored by Phillip Faure and the Frangipani Charitable Trust.


HOPE (Caracal #13, TMC13)
Hope was captured on August 26, 2015 in the Silvermine area, just two days after Madala’s capture, in the very same trap site! Weighing 8.5 kg, Hope is one of the larger females we've captured so far. She is a young adult female. Hope’s name was chosen for several reasons. As the 4th female captured in the Urban Caracal Project, we rejoiced at the opportunity to collect more data on what the female caracals are doing in the Peninsula. Further, and most exciting, Hope was pregnant! She would give birth to a litter of kittens soon. Having trapped this reproductive female in a recently burned area showed that not only are these cats surviving in the areas post-fire, but are even able to reproduce in those areas! The presence of reproducing caracals in recently burned areas shows the resilience of wildlife in the face of devastating habitat change, and the recovery for post-burn areas in Cape Town. 

Hope at the time of her capture. Her pregnant belly is obvious in the middle photo!


AZURE (Caracal #16, TMC16) 

Azure is a young adult male captured in Silvermine area on November 10, 2015. He is so named because we noted immediately that his eyes were an amazing blue color!   He roams around areas we've also seen Madala, Ratel, and Atticus! Shortly after his capture Azure traveled around the wine lands of Constantia where diet studies revealed that he largely feasts on guinea fowl, Egyptian geese and perhaps rodents.  

Azure surprised everyone and made a trek around all of table mountain and into the Lion’s Head area, over 20km north from where he was caught!  Like Jasper and Berg Wind, Azure was likely around dispersal age when captured and was looking for his own territory.  Discussion of his movements were featured both in an infographic and a blog posting describing his movements compared with another young male outside of Cape Town. His radio collar was on for 185 days with 1800 GPS locations. His collar was successfully recovered on the 13th of May in the Silvermine area.

Azure's radio-collar was generously sponsored by Stellenbosch University.


EBEN (Caracal #17, TMC17)

Eben is a large adult male caught on November 21, 2015 in Wynberg, weighing 12.9kg.  Like many of the other adult males, Eben was quite feisty during his capture, and so was named after famed rugby player Eben Etzebeth! But his movements have certainly surprised us.  While most of the adult males we have observed have had very expansive areas that they use, while radio-collared, Eben primarily used a vineyard area encompassing only 1 square kilometer!  He would occasionally make his way into Table Mountain National Park via a narrow greenbelt through a residential area, but after a few days journey, he always returned to the same small vineyard in Wynberg (west of the M3).  Eben's ability to make a home in the middle of a residential area like Wynberg shows us just how adaptive these cats are to urban environments!

By following Eben's movements, we have discovered that he frequently preys on birds such as guinea fowl and Egyptian geese.  To make these discoveries, we’ve also learned how thick the vegetation is that he travels through! For a large cat he certainly has no problem making his way through brambles and vines.  Overall, Eben has added some very unique data to the study.


TYGER (Caracal #18, TMC18)

Tyger is a young male caracal, probably close to 2 years old, that was the 18h caracal for the Urban Caracal Project, and the 16th that we radio-collared. He's quite an interesting cat! He was hit by a car in the northern suburbs of Cape Town in late 2015. One of his legs was broken, but it seemed that if the leg could heal, he would survive. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA worked to rehabilitated him. He had surgery to fix the broken leg and was carefully monitored and cared for.  Within a couple months, Tyger was ready to be released. With the help of a SANParks colleague and permission granted by the SPCA, on December 23, 2015, we radio-collared Tyger. He was then released into the Tygerberg Reserve near the suburbs where he was initially found hit by a car. Because of our limited resources, to collect data on him could be a gamble. Here would be a caracal that had a broken leg that was repaired in captivity– a very stressful environment for a wild animal. If Tyger just hung around the reserve, would that be because his leg wasn't completely healed, or would it reflect his natural behavior? We happened to have a radio-collar that had only half-battery after it was recovered from the body of another caracal, Berg Wind, that died of disease. So if the data were questionable, the use of Berg's half-battery collar would not be too big a loss. 

But what a surprise Tyger has proven to be!  After only 10 days of laying low in the urban reserve, he was ready to take off! Tyger found a narrow strip of relatively connected habitat and used the corridor to leave the reserve. And then straight north he went all the way to Malmesbury! He made a 55 kilometer trek, suggesting that he was in dispersal mode, looking for an unoccupied territory to call his own. Tyger's story could be one of success. He seems to have settled down in the Malmesbury area where there are agricultural and reserve open spaces that likely provide great hunting ground for him.  It is unfortunate that his collar ran out of battery before we established how he would settle in, but the last of his movements spanning approximately 6 weeks suggest he was exploring a potential territory of his own. Unfortunately, his collar reached the end of it's battery life in mid-March, and we able to send a signal remotely, through a web interface, to the radio-collar to fall off.


ZOLA (Caracal #19, TMC19)

Zola was captured on the 13th of January 2016 and after several months of target trapping she was our first Cape Flats caracal capture. She weighed 8.05kg when captured and proved to be the project’s fifth adult female. She was caught in the Rondevlei Nature Reserve just days before Xolani followed her scent into the exact same trap!  Zola means “quiet” in Xhosa and seemed to be a fitting name for this calm young lady.

    Since she has been collared Zola has yet to leave the safety of the Rondevlei/Zeekovlei area, largely because of the urban development surrounding the reserves on all sides.  As a female she is expected to have a relatively small home range but the urbanization of the area is impeding her ability to choose where that home range is established.  By travelling to some of her GPS locations for diet investigation studies, the team has found that Zola enjoys some of the thickest bush they’ve seen so far.  And who can blame her with hippos running around the reserve!  By analyzing her GPS points we hope to compare how she uses her habitat compared to the females in less restricted areas.  We also can’t wait to see how she interacts with Xolani!

Zola’s collar was generously sponsored by Cape Leopard Trust


XOLANI (Caracal #20, TMC20)

Just three days later as we have often seen with the our capture stats, we captured our biggest male yet! Xolani weighed in at a whopping 13.5 kg when he was caught on the 16th of January 2016 in Rondevlei Nature Reserve.  As can be expected from such a large male, he was a bit of a handful when he was captured.  Ironically enough we still named him Xolani, meaning “peace” in Zulu, to go along with his fellow Rondevlei caracal Zola.  

    Both Zola and Xolani were captured with hopes of assessing their movements in and around the cape flats, an extremely densely populated region on the east side of the city.  In the short time that Xolani’s collar has been transmitting data we have seen that he consistently resides in Rondevlei, but has made some trips into the neighboring township of Philippi. Such a large caracal would theoretically have a substantial home range in a more natural environment but Xolani (along with Zola) is clearly hindered by the Cape Flats developments surrounding the reserve. Hopefully Xolani’s future data will illustrate more extensive wildlife movement through the city and present us with possible solutions to habitat isolation.

Xolani’s collar was generously sponsored by the City of Cape Town.


STRANDLOPPER (Caracal #21, TMC21) and SPITFIRE (Caracal #22, TMC22)

On the 18th of January the Urban Caracal Project was pleased to find that we had captured not one, but two sub-adults caracals near the Noordhoek wetlands! They were caught about 200 meters from each other.  Strandlopper (meaning “beach walker” in Afrikaans) and Spitfire (named so for her feisty and tenacious spirit) were both safely and humanely fitted with GPS radio-collars. Based on weight, tooth wear, age, proximity, and that they traveled together for a time, they are presumed siblings.

As a first for the Urban Caracal project we will have the opportunity to study the diet and habitat preferences of our first juvenile female, Spitfire!

Strandlopper and Spitfire's collars were generously sponsored by Cape Leopard Trust.


SCARLETT (Caracal #23, TMC23)

Scarlett was captured and radio collared on the 11th of February 2016 in Cape Point Nature Reserve, weighing 7.6  kg.  She is our first caracal captured in the reserve and was caught just three days after receiving permission to trap in the area! Judging by her heavily worn canines and incisors we are confident that Scarlett is quite an older female.  As can be expected with an older female she also showed signs of previous reproduction.  

Very little is known about the caracal population in Cape Point and we hope Scarlett is the first of many cats that can help us answer questions.  Comparing data between Cape Point and the rest of the peninsula will hopefully paint a meaningful picture regarding the effects of urbanization on these animals. It will be interesting to see how the open space and biodiversity of both flora and fauna on the reserve will affect Scarlett’s diet and use of the landscape.

Scarlett's collar was generously sponsored by Cape Leopard Trust.


PROTEA (Caracal #24, TMC24)

The team was unsure of how many caracals were using the Cape Point Reserve, and even more unsure about trapping success in such wide open areas.  Luckily just one week after Scarlett’s capture another caracal found her way into one of the traps!  Protea was humanely captured and radio collared on the 18th of February and weighed 7.15kg.  During the capture it became clear that Protea was a very healthy and beautiful young female.  She had a fantastic coat and was even photogenic while pictures were being taken!  Judging by her nipples Protea has yet to give birth, and is estimated to only be about 2 years old.  Dr. Serieys had long thought of using Protea as a name for one of the caracals, and giving it to a young flowering female caught in the fynbos of Cape Point seemed more fitting than ever.

    So far Protea’s movements have taught us so much!  Like Scarlett she predominantly moves along the coast.  We have seen evidence of her hunting sea birds but this could also be a habitat/terrain preference for the two females.  Even more interesting is the fact that Protea occasionally makes her way out of the park and all the way north to the edge of Kommetjie! While this is not quite as daring of an adventure as some of the more urban caracals, it shows us that even cats located in the reserve have no problem with accessing areas populated by humans.  We look forward to seeing what else this young female can teach us about life at the tip of the peninsula.

Protea’s collar was generously sponsored by Cape Leopard Trust.


TITAN (Caracal #25, TMC25)

Titan is our third cat, but first male, humanely captured in Cape Point. After waiting patiently for two weeks since the capture of the last cat in Cape Point, Protea, we captured Titan on March 2, 2016. His name derives from the Titans of Greek mythology and was chosen because of his “titanic” size. At 16 kg, he is by far the largest cat we have captured to date. Based on his excellent body condition and size, we estimate that he is a male in the prime of his life. We are very excited to compare the movements and diet of such a large male to those of smaller caracals both inside and outside of Cape Point. Because the resources and habitat available to these predators are quite different inside the park when compared to the more urban areas explored by previously collared caracals, we hope Titan will yield some exciting and unique data. So far, he is living up to that expectation by utilizing areas within the park but also venturing outside as far away as Simon’s Town!

Titan's collar was generously sponsored by Cape Leopard Trust.


PROSPERO (Caracal #26, TMC26)

Prospero was collared on the 17th of May. Prospero's name was chosen because we felt that his story resonated with that of Prospero in Shakespeare's the Tempest. The name also means "fortune" or "luck."  

To read about his story and how he was caught in a gin trap, click here.  

Tragically, just a few months after healing from being trapped, Prospero was killed by a collision with a car in September 2016.

Prospero's collar was generously sponsored by Cape Leopard Trust.

Disa (Caracal #27, TMC27)

Disa is one of our denning females.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luna (Caracal #28, TMC28)

Luna was captured in July, and had a pregnant belly! She is now mothering at least one kitten. 

Luna, suspicious of our cameras, is seen here moving her kitten to a new den site. On the left she spends significant time sniffing the camera, and an hour later moves her (big) baby!

Luna, suspicious of our cameras, is seen here moving her kitten to a new den site. On the left she spends significant time sniffing the camera, and an hour later moves her (big) baby!

Orion (Caracal #29, TMC29)

Orion was collared on August 1. Barely a month later, his body was recovered.