A Caracal with its prey, photo by Hemraj Meena.

Observing Caracal (Caracal caracal) is not easy in India
– it is nocturnal, and visitors are not allowed for night
inside forests. It is highly secretive. It is territorial and
lives mainly alone or in pairs.
It preys upon small mammals, birds, and rodents. It can
leap higher than 4 m (12 ft) and catch birds in midair. The
main threat to the species is the loss of habitat although
there have been reports of retaliatory killing by the goat and
sheep herders.
Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve has recorded 7 species of
wild cats, of which Caracal is the rarest and least known in
terms of its status and ecology. Probably, it is now found
only here in any significant numbers.
To estimate its numbers in Ranthambhore, the Reserve
officials developed a new practice of assessing Caracal
over camera-traps: counted and segregated all caracal
photo-captures in a particular camera, checked as to how
many individuals were present in a photo-capture, what
was distance between camera stations, calculated the time
difference of capture, detected any distinguishing feature
among different caracals.
Based on such aspects, it was concluded that there were at
least 18 different Caracal individuals and the population
could range from 18 to 35 individuals.

The locations of caracal presence are marked on a map. It
indicates that a sizeable population of Caracals is present in
the adjoining forest areas of Karauli, Dholpur and Bundi as
well as in the ravines in and around the National Gharial
Sanctuary along the Chambal River. It may be largest
Caracal population in any Reserve in India.

By admin