Ben Farmer

Verification Officer: Ben Farmer
Verification Officer: Ben Farmer

Ben was born in the small hamlet of Onder Martiensrus to a 4th generation Cederberg family. He attended the local Wuppertal Primary School and after that went straight into farming.

Ben’s love for nature began while working the land on farms such as Kromrivier and Keurbosfontein. He subsequently met Johan van der Westhuizen and Dr Quinton Martins, co-founders of the Cape Leopard Trust and has had the rare privilege of attending a leopard collaring. In addition to farming, Ben has for many years been one of the community’s skilled donkey cart driver, despite recovering from a serious cart accident in 2001. Donkey carts remain a key method of transport for isolated Cederberg communities and is a tourism attraction for the area. When asked what leopards mean to him, Ben responded: “Leopards
are special. The more knowledge I have about them, the more I respect them”.

Ben is one of four Verification Officers trained by the Cape Leopard Trust nominated by their community to monitor leopard activity in the area. Working alongside CLT Community Outreach Officer, Chavoux Luyt, the Verification Officers have been trained to keep a predation incident register, to photograph and log the GPS locations of predation incidents and to deploy and use a camera trap for monitoring predators. Each officer was equipped with a bicycle donated by Qhubeka for mobility within their communities, as well as a camera trap and a Blackview Smartphone for data collection. It is hoped this recorded information will lead to an improved understanding of leopard behaviour and ultimately aid conservation.

The training of the VO’s is a skills development initiative as part of the Cape Leopard Trust’s broader environmental education project and empowered by Table Mountain Fund (TMF).

The Cape Leopard Trust would like to thank all project partners and sponsors: Hi-Tec, Qhubeka, Ford Wildlife Foundation, Cederberg Private Cellar, Driehoek Farm, Bushmanskloof, Table Mountain Fund (TMF) and ABAX Foundation.

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