Key findings so far
- Caracals regularly cross major roads, including freeways such as the M3
- Vehicle collision is an important source of mortality for caracals in the Cape Town area
- 90% of caracals that are hit by cars are young males
- Caracals are exposed to commonly used rat poisons, including the most toxic ones commercially available, likely as a result of consuming rodents that are targeted by the poisons in urban areas. Based on Dr. Serieys’s research in California on other carnivore species, the presence of these poisons in local carnivores suggests that chronic exposure may occur and because of frequent exposure, the poisons may threaten the survival of local wildlife in the Peninsula.
- Caracals in the Peninsula may have extensive home ranges with some males using approximately 1/3 of available habitat in TMNP, extending greater than 100 square kilometers.
- Reported sightings of radio-collared caracals are rare in urban areas relative to the amount of activity in and near urban areas that we have documented using GPS-enabled radio-collars. This suggests that caracals generally prefer to avoid human interactions.
- There is no evidence that caracals pose a danger to humans despite their proximity to urban areas.
- The documented diet of Cape Peninsula radio-collared caracals largely consists of a natural prey base: small rodents (ie., rats and mice), squirrels, small gray mongoose, genets, various bird species, and grysbok. The have also been observed to prey on domestic cats.