This agile cat performed a stunning acrobatic routine in a desperate bid to catch a dove for dinner. The African Wildcat had already devoured two doves at the same spot when he returned in search of a third meal. Looking like a house cat playing with a toy, he leapt more than 6ft through the air and demonstrated a perfect pirouette and backflip routine as he tried to grab one of the birds, but it was all in vain as meal number three prey got away.
The extraordinary performance was captured by photographer Jaycee Rousseau in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana. Jaycee, 34, was driving through the park with his 33-year-old wife Suzaan when they spotted the Cape Turtle Doves by a waterhole. Just as they were about to drive away they noticed the cat lying in wait for the doves and whipped out the camera.
Jaycee said: “We positioned our vehicle in the best position possible under the circumstances and out came the camera. Then we waited. And the cat didn’t disappoint. He jumped, caught a dove and ate it. Then he jumped a few times without catching anything and suddenly it was all over. The next morning we went back to the waterhole, but the cat wasn’t there. That same afternoon we went back again and sure enough, the cat was there again. Same story. We got the camera ready and waited. He jumped and caught a dove, went into the grass out of sight and ate it.”
Jaycee said the cat fled when another car approached.
He added: “The car only stayed a few minutes and drove off. We waited a while and after about ten minutes the cat reappeared. He got back into his hunting position and jumped. Of all the jumps, that one was the most spectacular. It took some time to get those shots, but patience certainly paid off. We’ve seen time and again that spending time on a regular sighting often produces something special.”
dove – galamb
to devour – felfal
to leap – ugrik
backflip – hátraszaltó
vain – ér
to whip out – hirtelen elrohan
gestation – vemhesség
African wild cat
With Genetic Science scientists are now certain that today’s domestic cats are descended from the African wild cat. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, the African Wild Cat weighs 6 to 17 pounds with a head and body length of 19 to 29 inches and a tail of 8 to 13 inches. In Africa, it can be found in almost any type of habitat from open rocky ground to scrubby brush and agricultural croplands.
After a 65 day gestation period, the female gives birth to two or three kittens in a secluded den. The young suckle for approximately one month and then begin to accompany their mother on hunting trips when they are about 3 months old. After 6 months, the young are independent but littermates may still continue to travel together. The African Wild Cat lives almost entirely on small mammals and insects. These cats are becoming increasingly rare in South Africa due to their ability to breed with domestic cats and from the associated diseases transmitted to these wild cats from their domestic cousins.