Caracals




Caracals are often killed for suspected predation on small livestock, although this appears to be a pervasive problem only in South Africa and Namibia. Analyses of stomach contents and scats from parts of South Africa outside the protected areas system have found domestic stock to make up a significant portion of the caracal's diet, with estimates ranging from 17-55 percent in different areas.

It has been reported that annual small stock losses to caracal ranged up to 5.3 animals per 10 km2. According to research large numbers of animals are destroyed by farmers each year. In 1982 reports indicated that an average of 2,219 animals were killed annually in control operations in the Karoo region alone between 1931-1952.

A 1989 survey of problem animal hunting clubs in Cape Province found that numbers of caracals reported killed or captured annually ranged from 0.02-1.6/10 km2. Farmers responding to a government questionnaire in Namibia reported killing a total of 2,800 caracals in 1981. However, control efforts thus far appear to have had little effect on caracal populations. Caracals typically re-colonise farming areas following local extirpation. Hunting for skins and "luxury bushmeat" is reported to be a threat in West and Central Africa, where the caracal is more sparsely distributed.

The caracal's protection status is classified as of least concern. The animal is hunted in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zaire. In Botswana, Central African Republic, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Zambia they are hunted and trade regulated. The caracal has no legal protection in Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, Zimbabwe and regarded legally as problem animals in Namibia and South Africa.

Habitat Caracals inhabit the drier savanna and woodland regions of Sub-Saharan Africa, with a strong preference for the more scrubby, arid habitats. They are not found in the tropical rainforests. In South Africa, where they are relatively abundant, they have been recorded (unusually) from the evergreen and montane forests of the southern Cape province. Field studies have been carried out only in South Africa and Israel. In South Africa, adult male home range sizes in various study sites in Cape Province have ranged from 31-65 km2, and females from four-31 km2.

Text by IUCN



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