Cape Town hiker's close encounter with wild cat

Cape Town hiker's close encounter with wild cat

A young man on a hike on Table Mountain had a very close encounter with a rare caracal early this week. 

table mountain caracal
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Avid hikers will be familiar with the small wildlife that is found along trails; in many ways, the animals add to the charm of the hike. Those who regularly take on Cape Town's Table Mountain will know that Himalayan tahrs (a species related to the wild goat) and snakes are commonly found on the trail. 

But wildlife photographer Kyle Kingsley was still surprised when he encountered the elusive caracal on his hike

Kingsley says that he first thought that he had come across a dog before he realised that he was looking at a wild cat. The animal is known for avoiding contact with human beings, so it is quite remarkable that Kingsley was able to come so close to it. 

Describing the moment, Kingsley said: "It did catch me off guard, but it's not my first encounter with wildlife on Table Mountain".

This particular caracal was identified by the Urban Caracal Project and given a name: Hermes. Hermes has been healing from a leg and tongue injury sustained when he was hit by a car a while back and Dr Laurel Serieys of the Urban Caracal Project believes he will heal completely. 

When asked what people should do if they ever come across a caracal, Dr Serieys said: "Quietly enjoy the sighting. You don’t have to worry. They are not as big or as aggressive as people think."

Image: Kyle Kingsley

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