Good morning people!
Here are some news about the project: no caracal trapped yet but we’re working on it very hard with Quinton!
At the Cape Leopard Trust, we’re always looking for new methods to catch carnivores without hurting them. Quinton is constantly trying new designs to be more efficient and three days ago, we built a new cage trap for the caracals. Instead of wire mesh, the walls of this trap are made of very tense rope. The mesh size is small enough so the caracal can’t pass its paw nor its head through and chew on it, avoiding damage to its claws and teeth.
Quinton is building his newly designed caracal cage trap.
When you want to capture felines, it’s better to have some baits. We’re using both remains from the abattoirs (which is not my favorite part) or road kills (avoiding other animals to get killed on the road while feeding on the carcass). When a bird has been killed on the road, we use the feathers that are good stimuli for cats. My truck smells really bad because of all these baits and the dogs at the farm seem to love it. We are optimistic and we should catch a felid very soon (we saw some leopard tracks two nights ago passing close to one of our trap…).
Quinton is putting a bait to attract the cats: cow’s lungs and trachea!
Yesterday, while I was checking a cage trap for caracal, I found a genet scat on the mechanism that triggers the cage, showing that only an animal of a certain weight can get caught (which reduces the by-catches). When the cat’s away, the mice (genets?) will play!
Last important thing: for those of you who are on holidays in the Cederberg, enjoying hiking, biking or birdwatching, if you encounter a sign (like the one on the picture below) saying that there is ongoing trapping in the area, please, avoid the zone. It takes an extremely long time to manage to trap a cat. By walking in the area and approaching the traps, you let your footprints and smell and it can potentially be dangerous. So please, avoid the area and come and meet us if you have any questions about the traps.