Caracal Capture

Remember the Caracal (Caracal caracal) that was eating penguins?

Good news from the Urban Caracal Project this morning – they think that they have caught it:


This is Disa – a “healthy adult female” – who will now be radio-collared and relocated some distance away from Boulders Beach.

Yes, it’s a bit dark, but isn’t she beautiful? Look at that shiny coat – that’s the Omega 3 oils from all those penguins she’s been eating. There’s a lesson here for all of us, and it’s only a matter of time until someone (Tim Noakes) launches the LCHP (Low Carbohydrate, High Penguin) Diet cookbook.

After all, extensive studies in caracal populations (n=1) have shown the obvious benefits of this eating plan.

Scientific names

Reading this post, which followed up on this post (which in turn was about this post). I was reminded of the binomial scientific name for the caracal being Caracal caracal.

For those uninitiated types, this scientific name is made up of the Genus name and the Species name. These are (generally) the final two stages of a long process of taxonomic ranking , starting with Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species.
Phew. Thank goodness you don’t to remember all that, unless you’re a biology student.


So actually, we just use the last bit of this long list of identifiers:

Fullscreen capture 2016-07-11 103834 AM.bmp

And if you’re a microbiologist, you only ever use the scientific name to refer to your little friends: You’ll likely know about E.coli – that’s just short for Escherichia coli, but they’re all named like that: Staphylococcus aureus, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, Thermodesulfobacterium hydrogeniphilum being just some examples thereof.

I love my job.

But all that nonsense was merely the preamble. Because now I wanted to know if there were any other binomial scientific names which were just the common name repeated.

Caracal = Caracal caracal, for example.

I actually knew of the lynx (Lynx lynx) as well, which, weirdly, is a pretty close relative of the caracal.

And there are others. Nearly, anyway:

The (American) Bison is Bison bison.
The (Green) Iguana is Iguana iguana.
The (short-tailed) Chinchilla – Chinchilla chinchilla.
The (Western) Gorilla aka Gorilla gorilla.
And who could forget the (Southern) Pudu – Pudu pudu?


And then there are some near misses like:
Rattus rattus, the Black Rat,
The Striped Hyena: Hyaena hyaena and
The Tokay Gecko – Gekko gecko.

But right now, I only have the caracal and the lynx as exact examples of binomial tautonyms being carried across to the common name for an animal.

Incidentally, the caracal also holds the record for being my daughter’s favourite animal, and my favourite wine.

Welcome to Cape Town, Africa

No, we don’t have lions roaming the CBD or elephants in our back gardens (most of the time) like what they do up North, but Cape Town still likes to remind us from time to time that it is still officially in Africa.

Like when a caracal is killing penguins just down the road, for example.
Wouldn’t get that in the Kruger National Park, now would you?

A spate of penguin fatalities has occurred in Simon’s Town over the past two weeks. The City has identified the predator by installing trap cameras in the area. The images confirmed the presence of a large caracal.

Caracals are great. They look really cool and that is primarily because actually, they are really cool.
Sadly though, our African penguins are endangered (although the caracal probably isn’t aware of that fact), and so this penguin killing has got to stop.

In its efforts to protect the penguins, while at the same time managing the sensitive ecosystem as carefully as possible, the City will be closing off a portion of the Simon’s Town shoreline to members of the public from 13:00 today 8 July 2016 until further notice.

The area which will be closed off stretches from Windmill Beach to Froggy Pond in Simons Town. The area will be marked off with tape and City Law Enforcement will be monitoring the site to ensure that no member of the public accesses the area during this time.

‘We ask that members of the public exercise patience during this time. The City hopes to trap the caracal, collar the animal with a radio tracking device and to move it away from the penguin colony, but still within its current home range. Cordoning off the area will also help us to deploy other passive mitigation measures to discourage the return of the caracal to the Burghers Walk to Froggy Pond area,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.

Epic. Can you imagine Johan getting home this evening?

“Oh, hello Johan dear, how was work today?”
“Actually pretty good, thanks. I closed off a section of local shoreline to prevent a large predatory wildcat from eating any more loveable and endangered seabirds. You?”
“We… well, we had a 2 hour meeting about July’s sales targets. And there were some quite nice biscuits on the trolley.”

Johan wins again. Despite only having lemon creams with his coffee.

More local caracal news as and when we get it.