Friday, February 19, 2010

Caracals Blamed For Killing Cattle

An interesting story this one. I'd be interested to know what people think. One point I would like to make is they should not be trapping anyway. Cats, Leopards, Wolves all get protection in the UAE...or are meant to! - Peter

Rocky Mountains and a Hard Place

Sebugwaawo Ismail

20 February 2010, RAS AL KHAIMAH - The wild caracal, a predatory cat found in the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah, has become a problem for residents in the higher reaches of the emirate.

It has prompted the local environment protection authority to announce compensation for those whose livestock has been attacked or killed.

The Environment Protection and Development Authority (EPDA) of Ras Al Khaimah is also chalking out a plan to protect residents and their livestock, EDPA Executive Director Seif Al Ghais says.

Known locally as Al Hambra or Al Washaq, the eight to 12kg wildcat has inhabited the rocky mountains here for 17 years and is not known to attack humans.

Al Ghais says wild caracals live in mountain caves and only come down when snakes, lizards, rats and other typical prey became scarce in their habitat.

The thought does not help the residents in vulnerable areas, including Wadi Qada’a and Sha’am, who complain of huge losses because of Al Hambra attacks.

The situation is tricky for EPDA because wild caracals are part of the country’s wildlife heritage and residents are being urged not to kill them.

Officials from EPDA will soon coordinate with people living near mountains to trace the wildcats and capture them to be kept in wildlife centres, according to Al Ghais.

His message is easy: Treat it with kindness. But it is not proving easy. Just last week, a caracal was shot dead after it attacked and injured an Emirati, having shaken itself free of a trap.

Ghais said the Al Hambra does not often attack people or larger animals. It does so only when it senses danger, purely as a mechanism of defence.

Ahmed Rashid, a resident of Sham, said they have on many occasions found their livestock, especially cattle and goats, dead as a result of the attacks from the wild caracals.

Not many have seen how these wildcats kill. But their predatory style has begun to leave telltale signs. Walid Shaban says he cannot risk grazing his animals near the mountains anymore.

Speak of being caught between the mountain and a hard place!
Read Ful Story HERE


  1. this is my first visit here, found it via Twitter. i'm not a fan of zoos, mainly because the times i went, as a child or grown-up, i had depressing encounters with its inhabitants. an orangutan in a german zoo, behind thick layers of glass, in a small empty compartment with fierce lighting... he held his hand against the wall and so i did i on the other side and looked into his sad sad eyes. i felt sick all day and only wanted him to be free. they don't belong in captivity, you know! the same in Amsterdam, Artis, with a gibbon, who stretched out his tiny hand to me through the bars... i stretched out mine and wanted to take his tiny hand in mine, but decided not too, for all i know he could want to bite. but he looked sad and it seemed like he was begging for food, gibbons should not be like beggars behind bars! they belong in the wild!

    i do get why there are zoos and to some extent they might be educative and trying to preserve certain species... still... and i certainly do get why a job as a keeper is fascinating, because you work with animals and learn from and about them... but i often don't see the benefit of it... we can watch David Attenborough's outstanding documentaries these days :-) and learn about nature without robbing animals from their own space...

    and about keeping livestock safe from nightly attacks, because i suspect the cats attack when it's dark..? depending on how many goats etc, the owners could perhaps build shelters to bring their goats during the night.

    or if the food of the cats is lesser in the mountains and it's a reason for them to come down and attack herds, maybe the EPDA could try to restore that and make sure there are lizards, rats etc for the wildcats to eat.

    why should animals always have to be moved for the sake of humans? i hate trapping, i found a badger in a snare last week, here in Belgium. close to a nature reserve. the hunters who did it have been at this for years and the local folk are afraid to stop them, because it's a family with connections in high places, so to speak. a snare is even still legal! well, maybe you would like to sign our petition to stop the use of legal snares in French Belgium...

    all the best,

  2. Hi Peter,

    Goats? Yes. Cows? Not a chance! They need to do predator I.D. of the carcass. All predators kill, and eat, in a specific way. That will tell you who's killing. I'll bet my left one that these caracals are scavenging on the aftermath.