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Hamilton Zoo welcomes new Caracal species


Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, March 19, 2024

Hamilton Zoo is abuzz with excitement as it introduces a captivating new member to its family, the caracal, a stunning medium-sized cat originating from Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia.

With its striking reddish-brown coat adorned with long black tufts at the tips of its ears, the caracal is a mesmerising addition to the zoo’s diverse array of wildlife.

Standing up to 50cm tall at the shoulder and measuring up to 110cm in body length, caracals are renowned for their remarkable jumping abilities. These agile felines can leap up to 3m into the air from a standstill, showcasing their prowess as skilled hunters in their natural habitat.

Settling into the new home

The latest arrival at Hamilton Zoo is a two-year-old male named Khafre, who journeyed from Queensland, Australia. Following a brief quarantine period, Khafre has now transitioned into his new enclosure and appears to be settling in seamlessly.

Exciting plans are on the horizon for Khafre as Hamilton Zoo aims to expand its caracal family. Discussions are underway with the regional species program to procure a female caracal for breeding purposes.

This strategic initiative aligns with the zoo’s commitment to conservation and species preservation.

About the Caracal

The caracal, also known as the desert lynx or Persian lynx, boasts a distinctive appearance characterized by tufted ears, a sleek physique, and a powerful build. Its name derives from the Turkish word “karakulak,” meaning “black ear,” a nod to its prominent ear tufts that add to its allure.

In the wild, caracals are solitary and nocturnal hunters, relying on their agility and stealth to capture prey. Their diet typically includes small mammals, birds, and occasionally larger animals like antelope. Their remarkable hunting prowess and elegant demeanour have captivated wildlife enthusiasts worldwide.

However, the caracal faces numerous threats in its natural habitat, including habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict. Conservation efforts are imperative to safeguard these beautiful cats and ensure their survival for future generations.

Up close encounter

Hamilton Zoo’s decision to welcome Khafre and potentially expand its caracal population underscores its dedication to wildlife conservation and education. Visitors will have the opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures up close and learn about the importance of protecting their habitats.

As Khafre settles into his new home, anticipation builds for the potential arrival of a female companion, heralding an exciting new chapter for caracal conservation efforts at Hamilton Zoo.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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