The Cape Leopard Trust - Using research as a tool for conservation & finding solutions to human-wildlife conflict
Friday, 21 December 2007 10:40

Leopards Leaping into 2008

We have finally got all the vehicle branding done on Witblits. Our main vehicle sponsor Leopard’s Leap will be clear for all to see as well as our fuel sponsor, EcoAire, Market Toyota and Toyota SA who have come on board with the vehicle sponsorship. Rand Merchant Bank Fund, our other main sponsor of this vehicle, has chosen not to advertise on our vehicle as this may result in it being a hijack target with criminals thinking we are transporting cash. It is sad that crime in SA has become so bad. Perhaps we need to keep a leopard in the vehicle to keep it safe…

Witblitz
Witblitz

The Wine of the Month club of SA and Leopard’s Leap Wines have also come up with another wonderful idea to support our work. Not only does Leopard’s Leap already contribute enormously to our work, but they will match the Wine of the Month Club’s pledge to donate R1.00 per bottle of Leopard’s Leap wine sold over the following 7 months.

So, by being as responsible as you can, go out there and try some of winemaker Eugene van Zyl’s delicious wines.

The leopards would join you if they could.

University of Stellenbosch
The Electrical and Engineering Department at the University of Stellenbosch has once again come to the aid of the Cape Leopard Trust. As we are constantly trying to improve our capture techniques, ideas are shared with brilliant people such as those found in engineering departments – let me tell you, the mind boggles. They will always find a solution to ones technical problems.  Anyhow – they have designed and manufactured a cage trap release mechanism that will assist us in remote releases of leopards after they have recovered from their drug dose. It is unsafe to release a drugged leopard as it may injure itself, so we keep the animal in the cage until it is compos mentis. If the cage is not located near a jeep track, we have to release the animal by hand – not a wise thing seeing that it is a leopard (no matter how diminutive our cape leopards are).  So this remote controlled device winds the door up with the push of a remote control button. Amazing!

Cederberg Conservancy
The Cederberg Conservancy celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend. Quinton recalls: “I attended my first conservancy meeting on the 13th March 2004, where I gave a short talk on what my leopard project was about (prior to the formation of the CLT). Some excitement and some scepticism had me in for a long journey. Since then I have been made to feel exceptionally welcome and have been given carte blanche on private and state land in the Cederberg. Huge thanks must go to all the members who have been so good to us here. Good relationships and communication have made all the difference to our efforts to conserve leopards in this beautiful wilderness. For more info on the Cederberg Conservancy: www.cederberg.co.za

Bateleurs
Bateleurs pilot Johan Ferreira and I recently had an awesome flight. We managed to track and download information from both female leopards, F6 & Amber, as well as get a download from Trompie. The latter marks the first leopard which has more than one years’ GPS information gathered from 1 collar. Up until now, collar battery life had never been longer than 10 months. The weather was superb and the flight typically breath-taking, with a stunning sunrise over the Tankwa Karoo as we headed east to track F6.

“Oom Arrie” was located way down south in the Koue Bokkeveld, but was in a very difficult kloof where obtaining a download was not possible.

The Cape Leopard Trust Trapping Techniques

icon no trapShort overview of three trapping methods considered by the Cape Leopard Trust as safe and humane: Cage traps, Foot loop traps or Foot snares, Soft-catch traps, References to relevant scientific literature.

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