Rosco Ockhuis

Verification Officer: Rosco Ockhuis
Verification Officer: Rosco Ockhuis

Rosco lives in the small community of Heuningvlei, where many of its residents work the rooibos tea plantations. His father was employed in the local forestry industry at Kliphuis, where Rosco grew up.

After completing Matric in Clanwilliam, Rosco joined the EPWP programme working for CapeNature and gained experience in the ‘Working on Fire’ and Working for Water’ programmes. He was accepted as a trainee field ranger with CapeNature where he stayed for three years but unfortunately was not successful in securing permanent employment and ultimately became a small-scale farmer.

Rosco’s time with CapeNature and with the EPWP programme ignited his interest for the environment, and he considers himself as one of the lucky few who once witnessed one of the Cape’s elusive leopards hunt a klipspringer. Asked what inspires him most about the leopard, he replied: “the call of a leopard is like nothing else on earth. Exciting and scary at the same time”.

Rosco 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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