WATCH: Trail runner encounters caracal on Table Mountain

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Cats
Cats

An trail runner had a close encounter with a caracal on a trail in the Table Mountain National Park on Monday.

"I was doing a solo training trail run for Ultra-Trail Cape Town along the contour path from King's Blockhouse to Kloof Corner," Kyle Kingsley told News24. 

When he first got a glimpse of the wild cat, he thought it was a dog. 

"It did catch me off guard, but it's not my first encounter with wildlife on Table Mountain. It's not uncommon to encounter Himalayan tahrs in close proximity to frequently-used trails," he said

Kingsely, who is a wildlife photographer, said he had grown accustomed to encountering porcupines and snakes on trails.  

In the video which he shared on his Facebook page, the 24-year-old can be heard marveling at the discovery. 

Caracals are elusive animals that often avoid humans, according to the Western Cape based Urban Caracal Project.

Dr Laurel Serieys, who heads up the conservation project, told News24 that the organisation had seen the video and that the caracal was part of their project.

"The caracal's name is Hermes. He was hit by a car few months ago," she said.

The car accident left Hermes with a broken leg and injuries to his tongue - but he is on the mend.

Serieys was made aware of Hermes when the cat was receiving treatment for his injuries.

She was able to mark and add a radio-collar to Hermes. 

"A large part of what our organisation does is to track and research how urbanisation affects the behaviour and the genetics of caracals."

She said, should people encounter the feline creatures, they should not be scared.  

"Quietly enjoy the sighting. You don’t have to worry. They are not as big or as aggressive as people think," she said. 

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