Caracal

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 29, 2022, 9:50

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and National Board for Wildlife recently added the Caracal, a species of wildcats found predominantly in Gujarat and Rajasthan, as a critically endangered species. The Caracal is a well-known species from the wild cat family native to the Middle East, Africa, India, and Central Asia. Keep scrolling below to learn more about Caracal, which will help you better prepare for your IAS exam preparation.

Significant Characteristics of Caracal

The Caracal is a medium-sized wildcat with a sturdy physical build, long canine teeth, a short face, long legs, and tufted ears. The notable characteristics of this Caracal wildcat are two black stripes running from forehead to nose and long black clumps on the ears. In addition, the eyes of these wildcats appear to be narrow due to their droopy eyelids that protect them from the sun's glare. Below is a tabular representation of the characteristics of Caracal.

Shoulder Height

40 50 cm

Head to Body Length

Males: 78108 cm

Females: 71102.9 cm

Tail Length

Males: 2134 cm

Females: 1831.5 cm

Weight

Males: 7.2 and 19 kg

Females: 7 and 15.9 kg

Latin Name

Caracal caracal

Habitat

Africa, India, Central Asia, Middle East

Average Lifespan

16 years

Some Quick Facts About Caracal

  • Apart from India, Caracal remains existent predominantly in countries across the Middle East, Africa, Central, and South Asia. In addition, while the population of Caracal wildcats is flourishing in Africa and the Middle East, they are fast declining in Asia.
  • The wild caracal cat, also known as Caracal, is a rare animal species endangered in India.
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  • This wildcat features a short face, long ears, sharp teeth, and long and pointy ears with black hair at the ear tips. These differently shaped ears give this wildcat the name Caracal, derived from the Turkish word karakulak, which means 'black ears'. In addition, this endangered animal is known as Siya Gosh in India, which is a Persian translation of the 'black Ear'.
  • In the Gujarati dialect in India, these Caracal wildcats are known as Hornotro, which implies the killer of another rare species, Blackbuck. On the other hand, Caracal is known as Junglee Bilaoor Wildcat in Rajasthan.
  • This endangered species is found predominantly in tropical dry deciduous and thorn forests of Western and Central India.
  • Historically, the Caracal existed in around 13 Indian states and covered a considerable area. However, soon with time, their habitat shrunk, and now they are seen only in three Indian states.
  • Caracal was earlier found in the semi-dry and dry forests of Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh. However, their existence was confined to only Gujarat, Rajasthan, and some parts of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Caracals had emerged in Indian illustrations and artworks back in the seventeenth century.
  • The survival of Caracal became tough in India, and they became endangered due to the quick decline of the thorn habitat and rapid deforestation.
  • The Caracal has been esteemed in India for its extraordinary capability to capture birds in flight, and it was the most prevalent coursing or hunting animal species in ancient India.

How Can Listing Caracals as Endangered Species Help?

Listing Caracal as an endangered species in India would draw central funding to animal conservation endeavours. In addition, it will further ensure that the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and the National Board for Wildlife comprehensively study this animal species, including its population, natural habitat, home range, prey, and more.

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FAQs on Caracal

Q.1. Where are Caracals now found in India?

The Caracals are now found in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and some parts of Madhya Pradesh.

Q.2. What are the physical features of the Caracal?

The Caracal is a medium-sized wildcat with a sturdy physical build, long canine teeth, a short face, long legs, and tufted ears.

Q.3. What is the average lifespan of the Caracal wildcat?

The average lifespan of Caracal is 16 years.

Q.4. What are the nine states where Caracal was earlier found in India?

The nine states where Caracal was earlier found in India were Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh.