By Margot Nicodemus
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All is well, too the caracal who had been seized by the gendarmes from a private person in Roubaix (North), on October 24. Like many animals illegally detained throughout France, the cat was returned to Tonga Terre d’Accueil associationwhich has a dual function: it is both a zoo and a sanctuary, located in the Loire. Jean-Christophe Gérard is a veterinarian there, and has been taking care of the caracal since his arrival.
Only felines and primates are welcome at the refuge, as they cannot be placed with the other animal families present in the park.
The “new fashion” for felines
The Roubaix caracal is in any case “in good health”, despite “a slight lameness in the left hind leg”, the vet indicates. Within the next few days, an outdoor enclosure will be open to him. For the specialist, these felines have paid the price for a “new fashion” for a few months, and the refuge for example, has welcomed around ten servals in 2022. All illegally detained as “if the owners were alright there is no reason they should be left to us”.
Whether it is the savanna, born from a crossing in the United States between a serval and a domestic cat, caracal therefore, or even “caracat”, born from the crossing of a cat and a caracal, all these animals “are protected and dangerous”. Their detention is closely monitored, as Jean-Christophe Gérard reminds us:
“You must have a certificate of competence, which certifies that you have sufficient knowledge of the animal, but also sufficient equipment. An enclosure, enough surface, a heated house… It is not a feline that we caress in the evening, in his bed. “
No release into the wild
The Tonga refuge is a temporary reception structure. It is the authorities that leave the animals, the time of the legal procedure. Because “animal trafficking is a serious offence”, the vet decides. After that, several options are possible: either the owner complies with the law, or the shelter teams begin the placement work. “We collaborate with French zoos, according to their needs. »
However, it is impossible to release the animals into the wild. “They are not good candidates. They were raised in a bottle by people they would be condemned to certain death. And then there is not always the will of the countries [d’origine des félins] to reintroduce them. »
If the northern caracal was not previously subjected to abuse, this is not always the case. Without mentioning the most extreme cases, the vet remembers a recently welcomed serval who was “fed exclusively with Babybel and avocados, even though he is a carnivore!”
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