English: Caracal or African Lynx; French: Caracal; Afrikaans: Rooikat; Amharic: Delga Anbessa; Arab: Karakil, Aneg el Erd; Damara: !háb, /apa, /hôab; Hebrew: Karakal; Herero: Oroquinjari; Hindi: siyagosh; Iranian: Carcal; Iswana: Ihwane; Kiswahili: Sibam angu; Kung: /Twi, /áme, /ámi, /imi, c’ui; Kwanyama: Shinga; Lozi: Twani; Ovambo; Okuiu; Pashto: Siah Gush; Russian: Karakal; Shangan: Nandzane; Shona: Hwana, twana; Sindebele: Ntwane; Sotho: Thwane, Nantane; Tamil: Kattuppunai; Tswana: Thwane; Turki: Kar akulak, Step vasagi; Urdu: Siah gosh.
Former distribution: The African continen (except in the rain forest regions), the Arabian Peninsula, all Near Eastern countries, southern Turkey, southern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, in the USSR in Turkmeniya, the north-western provinces of India.
Present distribution: Mauretania, Senegal, Guinea east to the Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, south to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, into South Africa; Transvaal, Natal and the Cape Province.
Behaviour: Preferred habitat: open landscapes, desert and semi-desert areas with hills and mountains; activity mainly at twilight, but in hot weather also at night: prey includes small mammals, medium sized antelopes; all kind of birds, also young livestock, poultry and snakes. They live singly or in pairs.
Population status: Decreasing, in some regions endangered, as in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and India.
Body weight: 15-25 kg
Head and body length: 65-90 cm
Tail length: 20-25 cm
Shoulder height: 40-50 cm
Gestation period: 68-78 days
Maximum age: 17 years in captivity
Trophy: Skull length 13.9 cm, width 9.5 cm. CIC: 23.4 points.
Hunting methods: With dogs and traps; in USSR protected by law.
Subspecies: 9 are listed (ALLEN 1954); 6 Afro-tropical region, 2 Palaearctic, 1 Indo-Malayan region.
1. Profelis c. caracal Cape Province and Orange Freestate. Rare.
2. Profelis c. poecilotis Senegal to Nigeria and western Sudan. Rare.
3. Profelis c. nubicus Egypt, Sudan to East Africa. Rare.
4. Profelis c. limpopoensis Botswana, Transvaal. Rare.
5. Profelis c. damarensis Southern Angola and Namibia. Rare.
6. Profelis c. lucani Northern Angola to the Congo river mouth. Rare.
7. Profelis c. michaelis USSR, Turkmeniya, northern Iran, Afghanistan. Endangered.
8. Profelis c. schmitzi Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Arabian Peninsula, southern Turkey, southern Iran, Pakistan and north-western India. Rare. Endangered in Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
9. Profelis c. schmitzi Central and southern Pakistan, in India the provinces of Punjab, Sind, Kutch and Rajputana. Endangered.
Remarks: Profelis caracal has been protected in USSR since 1975. The decrease of the population and the destruction of its habitat is obvious in all North African and Near Eastern countries, as well in India. Full protection by law is urgently needed. No revision of the geographical variations has been carried out lately, the number of subspecies may be fewer than listed. Investigation required on the population status.