The lynx in Europe, the bobcat in North America and the caracal in Africa and Central Asia are all part of the same grouping of cats: medium sized, territorial, solitary and all with the characteristic hair tufts on their ears. Caracals hunt a wide variety of prey including rodents, small antelopes, monkeys and birds. Pound for pound they are considered the most powerful of the cats and have even been known to leap up and grab flying birds.
Unfortunately, caracals will also attack sheep and goats. This gets them into trouble with farmers. BFFE currently has three caracals in their care: a pair who came from Somalia and a third, younger male, Sekota, who was caught in Ethiopia. They are perfectly healthy, growing nicely and are fierce. That natural aggression and wariness of humans bodes well for a successful return to the wild in the future.
When Stephen collected him, he was mightily relieved that Sekota was not the leopard the team had been told to expect but a young caracal, just three months old. Sekota was caught by a local man in Amhara Region, in the north of Ethiopia.
Representatives from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry under which EWCA lies, based in the town of Sekota, heard about the cat and went off to investigate.
You can read his full story here.
Servals are distinguished by their surprisingly large ears, they have spotted fur, like a cheetah, a long neck and a small head. Servals are specialized hunters of rodents – mice and rats in particular. Their ears act like dish-antenna helping to pin-point the sound of the prey’s scurrying. The serval will then make a high-arcing pounce, landing on the unfortunate rodent with killing force.
Servals are quite common and widely distributed across Africa. However they, like so many wild animals, have to face the problem of living in human-dominated landscapes. They will sometimes raid chicken coops or will lie up in farmers’ fields where they are at risk of disturbance. This is what happened to Ajay and Shalla, two orphans now living at Ensessakotteh. Their mother ran off when the farmer approached and he caught the two kittens before she could return.
The good news is that there is no reason why they cannot be released. Their instincts are still intact and there is enough space (with plenty of rodents!) for them at the centre. As a precaution though, like the caracals, they will be radio-collared to allow the team to track them post release to make sure they are adapting back to life in the wild.
You can read Ajay and Shalla’s full story here.
An Austrian couple living in Addis Ababa had cared for Cody for over 30 years. However, when a new home had to be found for Cody, after being cared for by a number of different people and after the loss of half of his wing to a tumour he came to Ensessakotteh. Due to Cody’s upbringing within a human household and his injury, he could never be released.
But luckily the team at Ensessakotteh was able to look after him and to give this happy and healthy owl room to roam and stretch his wings as much as possible.
In many gardens in Addis Ababa, there are giant tortoises. Most of the Embassy compounds and the Presidential Palace have several. It is reported that these tortoises can live for over a hundred years, so many of the larger tortoises will have lived through the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie (the King of Rastafaris).
EWCA has received several requests (including from a Government Minister) to rescue tortoises from Addis gardens. BFFE agreed to look after some of these tortoises who can now roam the 77ha of land (slowly…) at Ensessakotteh!