This page looks briefly at conservation and appearance. This is a part of the Pictures of cats.org website where I like to present the best of Flickr photographs in large format.
Caracal caracal – brief description
This cat is a medium sized (perhaps medium/small – 13-18 kg (28-40 lbs)) wild cat that lives mainly on the African continent, but also inhabits parts of Asia. The weight/size is just above the very largest domestic cats such as an F1 Savannah – is that a domestic cat or a foundation cat? The coat is ticked like the domestic Abyssinian cat. Ticking is a form of tabby cat coat. Cat breeders have created a Caracal/Abyssinian hybrid called the Caracat. Although this is a very rare cat.
The Caracal can be tamed quite easily and a small number of people keep them as pets (special rules will apply of course – see Serval cats for example – the Caracal is related to the Serval).
In the wild this cat’s prey is usually rodents and hares. This cat is very athletic and being highly skilled at hiding is hard to see. This is useful as farmers in protecting their livestock like to kill them.
One of the outstanding features of this cat is the large tufted ears (see a Maine Coon cat with great – similar – tufts, Miss Kate). The ears are very sensitive for catching prey. The Serval also has very large ears. The Caracal is named after the ears (the Turkish word for the ear, karakulak, translates to “black ear” – perhaps this cat inhabited Turkey at one time).
photograph is by annais
Caracal – photograph is by e³°°°
Caracal caracal – Conservation
The Caracal that inhabits Asia is listed under Appendix I of CITES (most endangered). The remaining Caracals are listed in Appendix II – see CITES in relation to cats.
This cat is listed as least concern under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ (at 2008). The Red List makes no distinction between the African or Asian habitat, which conflicts with CITES. This very talented and able wild cat seems to have stable populations in some parts of its range, which extends from east and south of the African continent to India and areas south or Russia. I personally doubt, sometimes, the accuracy of the figures compiled by assessors working on behalf of the IUCN in preparation of their Red List® (see IUCN Red List® Assessment). There are a lot of self-interested parties on the ground who would like to massage figures to support what they want to do, such as hunt and kill. Think of farmers for instance.
The greatest threat is through habitat loss. Eventually there will simply not be enough space for both the Caracal and the human. This situation has already arrived in respect of the Cheetah – see Cheetah habitat.
As for other small-medium wild cats the Caracal has been tamed on occasions to be a domestic cat of sorts. However, this cat is agile and intelligent etc. and quite large by domestic cat standards so there will have to a very careful assessment of both legalities and capabilities before this is considered. The Caracal caracal is probably a bit of a handful as a domesticated animal. Their ability to become domesticated is supported by the fact that thay have been used in India in the past as a working animal in hunting. The Cheetah also played this role once upon a time (see Cheetah Speed).
According to someone who knows this cat very well indeed, Mindy Stinner of Conservators’ Center, Inc. they communicate with a trill and by flicking their very impressive ears (maybe that is why they have such long tufts of hair on the tips of their ears?).