Vindhya Bachao Exclusive: Are the Wild Cats Caught in Mirzapur Rare Species CARACAL?
In a major breakthrough today, Mirzapur forest department caught 3 men transporting 6 wild animals of cat family. One is in custody of the authorities, while two others fled the spot. The animals were transported using a cage covered with clothes.
While the forest department believes it to be 'wild cat', there were also assumptions that it is some exotic cat like 'Puma'. Initially, there were also reports that the animals rescued are civets.
However, the photographs made exclusively available to us by local journalists and the description given by them indicates that it may be the very rare species of cat called 'Caracal' which is a protected species under Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Though it is not yet confirmed that whether the animals are poached from Mirzapur, but the forests of Mirzapur have been historically known for Caracal habitats. Bombay Natural History Society has also documented an incident of Caracal attacking a man in Mirzapur in its book 'Wild Animals of India' published in 2004.
Out of 6 animals rescued, 5 of the animals resembled the likes of Caracal, the sixth one is reportedly of leopard-cat. However, there is no confirmation yet from the Forest Department on the identification of the animals. We have managed to get few photographs of one of the animal which are posted here (photo arrangement: Shiva Kumar Upadhyaya). A person named Aarif is reportedly arrested for smuggling these animals. The exact reason for smuggling these cats is still unknown.
UPDATE [10/01/2017 21.30 hrs]
All the animals are transferred to Lucknow Zoo today. The identification of the 6th animal has not been completeley confirmed. It was initially identified as leopard-cat. Few wildlife researchers has suspected that it may be the African specis 'Serval'. An update is posted here.