Watch out for caracal mom and her baby on Chapman’s Peak Drive

By Lisa Isaacs Time of article published Jun 8, 2021

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MOTORISTS have been urged to be cautious as they make their way along Chapman’s Peak Drive, with a mother caracal and her kitten spotted close to the road several times.

The Urban Caracal Project said some motorists may have come across warnings to drive carefully along Cape Town’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,” the organisation said.

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.

Caracals can reproduce at 7 to 12 months, and usually have two to four kittens after a 78 to 81-day gestation period. At one month, the kittens weigh only half a kilogram.

They grow up fast, given they can start moving around with mom by the time they are six weeks old.

“Spread the word to drive carefully along this road,” the organisation said.

Last month, the organisation received photos from a couple who said they were sitting in their car in the Cape Point Nature Reserve when a caracal came past, sniffing around among the dry kelp washed up on the rocks.

“We have found that caracals in the southern part of the Cape Peninsula often use the beach as a ‘highway’ to travel along. These individuals are mainly moving between hunting locations and to patrol their territories.

“The main source of food for caracals in this area is birds – especially Cape cormorants, kelp gulls and terns. Caracals have amazingly flexible diets that incorporate many different species, but they tend to focus on the prey that is most abundant and available – at Cape Point, this is definitely seabirds.”

Report caracal sightings to the Urban Caracal Project via: http://www.urbancaracal.org/report-sightings-roadkill).

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