You Might Have Seen This Elusive Feline In Your Neighbourhood

The cat we’re talking about is the Arabian Caracal or Caracal schmitzi – a medium-sized, sand-coloured cat with distinct elongated, tufted black ears.


A Cat Looking feline standing and staring back in rocky mountain

Grabbing the headlines this week is a cat. However, this one is no ordinary feline as what the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi or EAD has said.

The cat we’re talking about is the Arabian Caracal or Caracal schmitzi – a medium-sized, sand-coloured cat with distinct elongated, tufted black ears.

This adorable wild cat was spotted on Jabel Hafeet National Park in Al Ain this month thanks to camera installed by EAD in the area as part of its monitoring programme for conservation and research.

Here’s where it gets more interesting: the last known sightings of the Arabian Caracal in Abu Dhabi was 1984, making this latest appearance a welcome surprise.

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. يسرنا أن نعلن عن تسجيل مشاهدة حيوان الوشق العربي بمنطقة جبل حفيت في مدينة #العين لأول مرة منذ 35 عام، وهو القط ذو الفرو رملي اللون، والذي شوهد لأول مرة في إمارة #أبوظبي في عام 1984، حيث التقطنا صورة له من خلال شبكة مراقبة طويلة المدى تستخدم أكثر من 45 كاميرا خاصة تلتقط الصور تلقائيا عند مرور أي جسم أمامها، لدراسة وتتبع الموائل الحرجة والحساسة بيئياً والمناطق المحمية في إمارة ابوظبي. . We are delighted to announce that we sighted an Arabian Caracal on Jabal Hafit in #AlAin – for the first time in 35 years. The sand-coloured cat that was last seen in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in 1984 was captured by our long-term monitoring network that uses over 45 remote camera traps to study and track ecologically-sensitive habitats and protected areas #inAbuDhabi.

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In fact, sightings are so rare that conservation experts at least here are on the verge of declaring it extinct in local habitat.

So to celebrate its re-emergence, we searched for more information for us to get to know better this elusive feline…

  • The caracal is native to Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East and India.

  • Notoriously nocturnal, this cat had been described as highly secretive, difficult to observe, territorial and prefers to live alone or in pairs.

  • Its scientific name felis caracal was bestowed Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1776.

  • It is closely related to the African golden cat and is believed to have evolved 8.5 million years ago.

  • A study done in South Africa shows that caracals are most active when air temperatures drop below 20 °C.

  • Despite concerns about its dwindling population due to illegal hunting and habitat destruction, the caracal is categorised as least concern, meaning that it’s not considered threatened, near threatened or conservation dependent.


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