Did you know the Black-footed Cat in Namibia is threatened by extinction?

If you haven’t heard about this wild cat before, the Black-footed Cat is the smallest wildcat species in Africa. And while most conservation programmes focus on big cats, this little guy is under just as much threat.

Rights to SA Venues

It may look like an adorable house cat, but rest assured this little beast can take care of itself. The Felisnigripes only stands about 20cm tall and weighs around 1-2.5kg. They have soft dark-goldish fur with a spotted pattern across their bodies. Usually they have two dark streaks across their cheeks and dark striping across their legs.

These little creatures have adapted to the desert lifestyle. Their broad skull and large ears allow them enhanced hearing to find prey in a scarce region. And they have hair on the soles of their paws to protect them from the heat of the sand.

Rights to SA Venues

Found mostly in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, the Black-footed cat prefers grass plains, sand plains, and scrub desert, including the Kalahari and Karoo Deserts. Legends have claimed that these little cats can bring down a giraffe. Obviously it is not true, but it does reflect the great determination of these felines.

Rights to Cats For Africa

While the cats are usually solitary animals, females and dependent kittens do stay together for a while. Kittens stick with their mothers for up to four months and stick to their mom’s vicinity for quite some time thereafter.

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Rights to Cincinnati Zoo

The major threat to these little cats includes overgrazing livestock. This reduces their availability of prey. Poison in carcasses, as these creatures scavenge like jackals. The public is also encouraged not to keep these cats as pets. They are wild animals after all.

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Rights to International Society for Endangered Cats

When visiting the Kalahari Anib Lodge, keep an eye out for these awesome creatures.

If you have any information or stories on the Black-footed Cat, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

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How a photo blog can inspire you to visit the Kalahari Desert in Namibia

The images below showcase the newly refurbished Kalahari Anib Lodge in Namibia:

An inviting oasis tucked in the desert

An inviting oasis tucked in the desert

Embrace  the reality of the Kalahari atmosphere

Embrace the reality of the Kalahari atmosphere

The awesome scenery of the nightfall

The awesome scenery of the nightfall

Always a variety - never a dull moment

Always a variety – never a dull moment

Soup station

Soup station

The ideal place to unwind

The ideal place to unwind

The early bird catches a great sunrise

The early bird catches a great sunrise

Breakfast

Breakfast

Breakfast delicacy

Healthy alternatives

Breakfast area

Breakfast in warm morning light

Breakfast in warm morning light

Kalahari Anib Lodge is a relaxed and down-to-earth stopover for a taste of Kalahari.

Fire place

Fire place

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Design detail

Breakfast area

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Comfort family room

Comfort family room

Comfort family room

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Standard room

Comfort room

Comfort room

Comfort room

Comfort room

Outdoor relaxation

Don’t miss the time of day when the Earth seems to pause for Kalahari magic

Interior detail

Interior detail

Bathroom amenities

Bathroom amenities

Explore the Gondwana Kalahari Park on the sunset drive

Explore the Gondwana Kalahari Park on the sunset drive

Are you inspired to travel to the Kalahari Desert? You are invited to comment below.

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Why is the Jackal called a trickster?

Like the fox in European folklore, the jackal is often represented in African folk tales as a trickster. Its ability to adapt to changing circumstances and its legendary stealth and cunning have inspired stories about the wily creature that dodges traps and avoids hunters year in year out. The jackal is reputed to be able to obliterate its tracks, feign death and rid itself of fleas by immersing itself in water, only exposing a tuft of sheep’s wool which it holds in its snout.

– The jackal kills larger prey with a bite to the throat.  Photo: Johan Scholtz

– The jackal kills larger prey with a bite to the throat. Photo: Johan Scholtz

The notorious Broken Toe, a jackal with a distinctive spoor that continually evaded capture, was enscribed into folklore by the well-known writer Lawrence Green, who recorded its escapades in his book “Karoo”. Khoikhoi fables include stories of jackal outwitting lion and also tell how it acquired its black saddle by offering to carry the sun on its back.

The black-backed jackal is also known as the silver-backed jackal for its silver-flecked black saddle. Fossil records reveal that it is the oldest existing member of the genus Canis. He inhabits the northern stretches of East Africa and southern Africa, from the Skeleton Coast and Etosha National Park to the Drakensberg grasslands.

Surprisingly, the handsome jackal, with its unfortunate reputation as a small stock predator, is monogamous and forms a lifelong bond that lasts for its approximately thirteen-year lifespan or until the death of its mate. It has a protracted courtship period and the pair is a cooperative and synchronised team, caring for their young, marking and defending territory and hunting. They will call and answer when separated. They are also good parents, regurgitating food for their pups that hide in dens or the abandoned burrows of other species, usually aardvark.

Jackal. Credit : Judy and Scott Hurd

Jackal. Credit : Judy and Scott Hurd

Equivalent to the wolf’s call in the northern hemisphere, the jackal’s call can be heard echoing through the savannah or desert, especially during the mating season when it becomes increasingly vocal, epitomising the African night.

Referred to as a nimble opportunist, the small (40 cm, 7-10 kg), black-backed jackal lives by its wits. Although it has been ruthlessly persecuted as animal and human habitat infringe upon each other, its resourcefulness and adaptability have ensured its profusion. In addition to outwitting the king of the beasts in folklore, it has also been referred to by farmers as a robber and pirate. In nature, however, its tricks and tactics are not motivated by malice or treachery; they are merely strategies for survival.

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