Dock Worker Nearly Faints When He Finds Someone Dangerous Hiding In Bathroom
“No one was prepared to go in there …”
It was a bustling August morning in South Africa's Port Elizabeth when a dock worker decided to stop for a quick break. He opened the door to one of the port’s public restrooms and nearly fell over when he saw who was occupying the stall.
Tucked under the toilet in the single-occupant bathroom lay a large animal with light brown fur.
Standing in the doorway, the worker could only see the animal’s back end sticking out from behind the toilet. But the sound of a low growl and a quick peek at the animal’s face confirmed their biggest fear: They were face-to-face with a caracal.
The worker slammed the door and immediately called Arnold Slabbert, a local rescuer with Wildline and the Urban Raptor Project, for help.
Slabbert’s used to saving all types of wild animals who’ve gotten trapped within the city landscape, but the caracal’s presence on the port shocked him.
“There’s tons of containers and big ships there, so it’s the last place you would expect to find a caracal or a lynx hanging around,” Slabbert told The Dodo. “The fact that she didn’t get run over or killed in that initial run through the port, which is active 24/7, is quite amazing.”
When the workers confirmed that the restroom was empty the evening before, Slabbert figured she'd been run out of her local habitat by illegal hunters overnight. But the rescuer couldn’t be sure exactly what led to her being in the bathroom — or how long she’d been there.
No one saw her as she crept through the darkness that night, but in the morning, there was no mistaking her presence.
“The caracal took up a fair amount of space inside that toilet,” Slabbert said. “No one was prepared to go in there and take a picture.”
Luckily, Slabbert arrived soon after he’d received the call and was eager to jump in with a rescue plan. With the help of Jaci Mizen Neale-Shutte, Slabbert attempted to catch the caracal.
“She was pretty nervous,” Slabbert said. “You could see that she was very confused as to where she was exactly.”
The scared girl let out her classic low growl every time they got near, but they were eventually able to trap her. Once secured, they carefully extracted the caracal from the tight confines of the toilet.
Less than 25 minutes later, the rescuers carried the caracal’s cage onto the protected lands of Port of Ngqura. There, the sweet girl would be able to resume her life as normal, running around the lush vegetation and enjoying an abundance of her favorite foods.
The devoted rescuers set her cage down, and — although she hesitated momentarily — the caracal whipped out of the crate as soon as she realized she was safe.
In a moment of sheer delight, the caracal let out an ecstatic screech, as if to thank her rescuers for saving her.
Slabbert hasn’t had to remove any caracals from toilets since, but his days are still filled with unbelievable rescues.
In the busyness of it all, Slabbert hopes that his new caracal friend is enjoying her new life in Port of Ngqura and that they never have to meet in a busy port’s bathroom again.