The Cape Leopard Trust - Using research as a tool for conservation & finding solutions to human-wildlife conflict
Monday, 27 April 2015 07:42

Caracal sees her reflection for the first time totally freaks out

Caracal sees her reflection for the first time totally freaks out

Laurel Klein Serieys has a soft spot for pointy-eared cats. After completing her PhD studying bobcat ecology in Los Angeles, California, she set off for Cape Town in South Africa to study a different kind of urban wild cat: the caracal.

As part of her Urban Caracal Project, Serieys set up a small mirror in the wilderness, ready for a cat to wander by, and deployed a camera trap nearby to record what happened. Eventually a female caracal did wander by – and was so startled by her reflection that she ran away. In less than a second, the cat became a furry, blurry rocket.

On the project's Facebook page, Serieys explains that she wanted to see whether mirrors could be a useful, humane way to lure a caracal into a trap, where the cats are given a quick assessment and, for some of them, a small radio collar, before being released. "There is video footage of two leopards in a tropical forest reacting very differently to a mirror – investigating for a long period of time with great curiosity, which is how we got the idea… [But] based on this footage, it won't be a technique we will employ," she says.

The same cat was seen nearby later the same day, so Serieys thinks that the mirror wasn't scary enough to drive her away permanently.


Related Video

Cool video captured! We've been curious what a caracal would do in reaction to its own reflection- so while we had traps closed this past week, we performed an experiment. We believe that this is a female caracal, and that there would be different reactions based on the individual sex and age. So probably not every caracal would react this way and we hope to be able to experiment more in the future with this concept!

Posted by Urban Caracal Project, Cape Town, South Africa on Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Cape Leopard Trust Trapping Techniques

icon no trapShort overview of three trapping methods considered by the Cape Leopard Trust as safe and humane: Cage traps, Foot loop traps or Foot snares, Soft-catch traps, References to relevant scientific literature.

Read more

Latest News Updates

  • Leopard hit by car in Bainskloof - Death of BM30

    Leopard hit by car in Bainskloof - Death of BM30

    On Thursday 16 Feb 2017, a leopard was hit by a car in Bainskloof Pass near Wellington. The animal sustained severe injuries, including a broken back as well as internal trauma, and sadly had to be put down. The Cape Leopard Trust Boland Project was notified of the incident by partner organisation CapeNature,…
    Written on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 11:39
  • Vacancy: Community Outreach Officer in the Cederberg

    Vacancy: Community Outreach Officer in the Cederberg

    The Cape Leopard Trust is seeking to appoint a suitably qualified Community Outreach Officer to manage its community outreach programme in the Cederberg district and run its environmental education camps at Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve in the Cederberg. The successful candidate will be physically fit, will have experience in establishing and managing community development…
    Written on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 14:56

logo capeleopard absa cape epic

  • Rand Merchant_Bank
  • FNB
  • Sandown Motors
  • WWF
  • K-WAY
  • Leopards Leap Wines
  • Bushmans Kloof
  • bridgestone
  • AVIS
  • Deutsche Bank
  • wilderness safaris
  • ABAX
  • BJK Investments
  • Woolworths
  • Rolf Stephan Nussbaum Foundation
Promotional Slideshow