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 many years ago. In addition to farming, Ben has for many years been one of the community’s skilled donkey cart drivers, 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 several Verification Officers nominated by their communities and trained by the Cape Leopard Trust to monitor leopard activity in their respective areas. Working alongside CLT Community Outreach Officer, Chavoux Luyt, the Verification Officers have been trained to keep a predation incident register, photograph and log the GPS locations of predation incidents, use a camera trap for monitoring predators and use a Blackview smartphone for data collection with Cybertracker. It is hoped this recorded information will lead to an improved understanding of leopard behaviour and ultimately aid conservation. This outreach forms part of the Cape Leopard Trust’s broader environmental education project as well proactive human-wildlife conflict prevention.

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