Scientific name

Caracal caracal schmitzi

Locally known as

Al Washaq

IUCN status

Least Concern


The Caracal is a medium-sized, sand-coloured cat with elongated, tufted black ears. It has long legs, a short face and long canine teeth.

Key threats

 Illegal hunting and habitat destruction. 

Where they're found today

They are found across Africa, Central Asia, and south-west Asia into India.

Abu Dhabi’s efforts

While the Caracal is widely distributed throughout the region (typically in mountainous areas), individuals present on the Arabian Peninsula are becoming increasingly rare. In 2019, EAD recorded a sighting of the Arabian Caracal, last seen in 1984, on Jabal Hafit National Park, part of the Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network. EAD’s work in the management and conservation of protected areas helps to improve the status of rare species such as the Arabian Caracal.

Fun facts

  1. The Caracal is known as the “barking cat” after the noise it produces to ward off danger.
  2. It can tackle prey two to three times its size and jump up to six feet into the air to hunt flying birds.
  3. The Caracal appears to have been very significant in ancient Egyptian culture. Caracal sculptures were believed to guard the tombs of pharaohs.
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