A devastating FIRE in Cape Town, South Africa, has dealt a horrible blow to the survival prospects of the last precious Cape Town caracals!
The fire swept through the University of Cape Town, destroying the Urban Caracal Project’s (UCP) laboratory. Tissue samples of whiskers, fur and blood, painstakingly collected over the last five years are in ashes, possibly wrecking entire critical conservation plans for this highly threatened population of caracal cats.
10,000 acres (400 hectares) of their habitat have been destroyed. We are hoping and praying they all got away safely. Caracals are agile, have sensitive noses and can move like lightning when danger threatens, grabbing their kittens in their jaws and fleeing for their lives.
But even one death would be a terrible blow –
because there are so few caracals left!
Only 50 or 60 caracals – shy and extraordinarily beautiful cats with distinctive pointed ears – cling to life in the last wild areas of Cape Town. They are victims of road accidents and, crucially, poisoning. The problem is that these caracals have become partly urbanized, foraging in urban areas where they eat rodents poisoned by humans. The lost samples were one of the last steps needed to identify if these cats are adapting to urban life, and more importantly, a plan to save them. The UCP team was so close.
With your help, we can get the project up and running again. We have promised to raise the money needed for fieldwork to get new samples from the cats.
The clock is ticking and sadly…
these wonderful creatures do not have the luxury of time!
Team members were in tears when they realized the extent of the devastation. They need to get back into the field and replace critical lost samples as soon as possible.
UCP has been working tirelessly for years to better understand how this population of caracals is adapting to their urban surroundings in order to help them adapt and survive, despite the threats they face.
The fire, which started on Sunday, raged out of control within hours and nothing could be done to save their laboratory or its precious contents.
This fire is a bitter blow for caracals. Again, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! I sincerely hope you can donate right away!