In my last blog entry, I talked about seeing with new eyes and used The Links at Fancourt in South Africa as an example. Today we received an email showing two more pictures taken by their camera trap and I think it is worth including, in its entirety, partly as an example and partly for the wonderful education regarding a species found on the other side of the world from our chilly NY office. Enjoy!

Good Morning.

I hope you are well on this beautiful day?

I am extremely excited to share with you that we have finally got photographic evidence of a Lynx (known locally as Caracal, Rooikat or Nghawa) caught on our camera trap last night just to the south of Hole 16 on The Links. I am also glad to say that we did not have to deprive anyone of their Chanel #5 to get this shot. We have often see these beautiful animals before while driving through the course but because they are so shy we have never been able to get a photo until now.

They are an extremely important part of our ecosystem here on The Links as they feed primarily on Rats and Mice, Guinea Fowl (which we witnessed a kill this past Saturday), Egyptian Geese and small Antelope such as Grysbok (of which I have also added a photo taken at the same place 2 evenings earlier). In fact they will catch almost any animal they can and have been known to take young Kudu. Although caracals are known for their spectacular, bird-snaring leaps, mammals make up over half of their diet. Unique among cats of their size, Caracals can take down prey two to three times their mass. Small prey such as hyraxes are killed with a bite to the nape, while large prey, such as gazelles are killed with a suffocating throat bite.

Caracals are solitary, except for the duration of mating and rearing of kittens. Litters of 1-6 kittens are born between October and February depending on availability of food. Both sexes are territorial and maintain an active home range. Although primarily nocturnal, caracals can be seen during the day.

Females are smaller and at or below 13 kg, while males can be up to 20 kg. It is possible for a large female to weigh more than a small male. Although the tail is short, it still makes up a significant portion of the total body length. Tail length ranges from 18 cm (7 in) to 34 cm (13 in). Head and body length is measured from the nose to the base of the tail and ranges from 62 to 91 cm (about 24 in to 36 in). Even the smallest adult caracal is larger than most domestic cat.

It is important to note they are no threat to people as long as you do not corner or try to capture one!

So next time you are on The Links, keep an eye out as you might just see one. One was even seen roaming casually across #16 Fairway just in front of Brandon Grace’s group in the final round of the Origins of Golf held recently and was not too worried about all the people.

Kind Regards,
Spencer Cooper
Golf Course Superintendent – The Links

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