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PHOTO Rare sighting: resident captures caracal on camera in garden

A WILDLIFE and photography enthusiast had a rare chance to capture a caracal on camera in his garden at Blackridge when he went out to photograph birds on Saturday morning.

Stoffel van Rensburg told The Witness he was sitting on his verandah at his home near Linpark High School when he spotted the caracal or “rooikat” some 30 metres away.

“Luckily I had my camera with me and I was able to take a photo of it before it moved away. If I had not moved to reach for my camera it would have come right up to the house.”

Van Rensburg, a manager at Jan Richter centre in Pelham, said his wife told him she had spotted a caracal there about two years ago, but he had not believed her at the time, because caracals stick to the savannah rather than to bushy areas.

“We get lots of wildlife here, including blue duiker, bushbuck, porcupines and bush pigs.”

At first he thought it was someone’s pet that had escaped, he said.

He said the incident reminded him of the coatimundi that has been seen in Blackridge and Hilton.

Local wildlife expert Mark Enslin said caracal are common in the area, and that they feed on buck and will even prey on domestic cats.

Enslin said the last calls he had received about the coatimundi, a member of the racoon family native to south and central America, were from Cedara, but he had heard nothing more of the mystery animal for some time.

bigcatrescue.org