Motorists, cyclists and hikers need to practice extra caution around Chapman’s Peak Drive after a mother caracal and her kitten were spotted on this scenic drive again, raising concern for their safety.
Urban Caracal Project is an organisation dedicated to assisting caracals in the wild – and educating locals about their dwindling species. There is a decent caracal population found in the Western Cape, and many live in the Table Mountain National Park.
Three weeks ago, a mother caracal and her kitten were recorded walking along the roadside on Chapman’s Peak Drive. The same duo were spotted again over the weekend and a video recording was shared with Urban Caracal Project.
“Some of you might have seen our Stories warning drivers to be careful along #CapeTown’s famous scenic route. This pair has been spotted several times very close to the road near the toll gate. We suspect she has a den nearby,” Urban Caracal Project said in a Facebook post.
Their dens are usually in thick vegetation, and mom spends most of her time at her den with her kittens for the first month, when the kittens are too small to travel with her.
An urban environment is a dangerous place for caracals, as it presents a different set of problems for these animals who are known to hunt at night.
In their recent research, using data collected over a five year period, Urban Caracal Project discovered that car accidents are the biggest contributors to the dwindling caracal population.
“We present data we have collected after five years of recording and performing autopsies on caracals that we found ourselves, or after they are reported to us by local community members. We collect the bodies of caracals that die in the Cape Peninsula, but also in and around other parts of Cape Town and it’s suburbs, including northern suburbs and as far north as West Coast National Park, and eastern suburbs and Stellenbosch. Undoubtedly our data are biased towards vehicle mortalities, as those are the easiest to see and find,” they said on their website.
If you come across a caracal, contact Urban Caracal Project to help them track the animal for their safety.