A tough, reliable vehicle is an indispensable tool for many a field biologist. It is no different for the two project coordinators and researchers who run the Boland Project at The Cape Leopard Trust.
A research vehicle for us is not merely an automobile that gets us from point A to point B. No, it is much, much more and becomes like a third member of the team, with a name and character all of its own. In times of intensive fieldwork, with 10-hour days exposed to the elements, it becomes a mobile base – often a refuge. We could give many accounts of winter camera checking trips when we returned to the bakkie soaking wet and cold; or of scorching summer days when we crawled underneath it in search of a spot of shade for lunch in the treeless Fynbos surroundings. Sometimes standing on tip toes on the back bumper gives you just that little bit of extra height to get optimal signal for downloading data off a leopard’s collar. Manoeuvring countless river crossings and tricky sandy or loose, rocky gravel tracks – transporting heavy, unwieldy gear up looming mountains – it goes without saying that we are tremendously grateful for our sturdy metal steed with wheels!
Avis South Africa has realised the integral role of a proper off-road vehicle in the Boland Project’s efforts to research and conserve the leopards of the Cape mountains. Since September 2011, Avis has been sponsoring the CLT Boland Project with the long-term lease of a Toyota Hilux Double Cab 4x4 bakkie.
The very first sponsored Avis vehicle was endearingly called Mavis by the Boland team, and was eventually replaced by its successor Davis.
Earlier this month, we received a call that it was time for Davis to retire his research duties and that a new team member was on its way… Dear CLT supporters, please welcome Travis – our third Avis chariot with which we will proudly traverse many obstacles and achieve great things!
The third sponsored Avis bakkie, called Travis, at the Avis HQ in Cape Town.
A huge thank you and hats off to Avis for enabling us to do our jobs with a reliable, safe and comfortable Boland research vehicle!
Anita & Jeannie