The Cape Leopard Trust - Using research as a tool for conservation & finding solutions to human-wildlife conflict
Thursday, 07 May 2009 05:37

Namaqualand Project Update

Report by Ben-Jon Dreyer

Looking back a year, the CLT had just started exploring the massive Namaqualand granite outcrops for possible signs of leopard in this harsh, arid environment.  Uncertain of what we would discover we stepped out into this wilderness, relying on experiences from our other study areas, luck and ‘Koringkriek’ (our trustworthy Toyota) not to let us down.

It has been an eventful year, packed with ground breaking discoveries and relationship-building successes between traditional ‘rivals’ – farmers and conservationists.

Kamiesberg Leopard Conservancy

Image 

One of the primary objectives of the Namaqualand project is to facilitate the establishment of a leopard conservation area. This is quite a task, but building on our successful CLT-farmer relationships we hope to have helped farmers see the benefits of forming a leopard conservancy for both themselves and the environment.

After introducing the leopard conservancy initiative to individual farmers it became evident that it is a new concept for most of the landowners to consider. We will be working in conjunction with Conservation International’s (CI) Stewardship team in Namaqualand and will be drawing on their invaluable experience and assistance. We look forward to signing conservancy agreements with farmers in the area in the near future. As one of the Namaqualand farmers has said: “I believe that the CLT project in Namaqualand has merit and am willing to cooperate in the conservancy initiative”.

The proposed conservancy would border the Namaqua National Park and aims to be large enough to allow for several leopards, with their massive home ranges, to reside free from harm.

Camera traps & leopard ecology

Monitoring of the camera traps is continuing delivering great baseline and leopard related information.  New areas are continually explored and cameras set to record leopard activity, especially east of the N7 where we have not photographed leopards yet.  To date, we have positively identified 7 individual leopards in Namaqualand - four adults (2 males and 2 females)
and 3 sub-adults.

News Flash:  Namaqualand’s Goegap Nature Reserve believed that honey badger’s were absent from the area for decades – that was until the CLT captured these photographs of three honey badgers in the reserve.  

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Three musketeers in Goegap Nature Reserve -hard evidence
that honey badgers are still present on the reserve.

Thanks

The CLT Namaqualand’s core funding has come to an end and we would like to thank the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for their amazing contribution to conservation of our precious natural heritage. The CEPF funding set this project up and we are determined to continue in the area, changing people’s attitudes towards predators, and conserving this areas rich biodiversity.

The project is grateful to Hanél Franken who volunteered for two months in Namaqualand showing dedication to her work.

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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