Tracking changes in the Cederberg with the Cape Leopard Trust

Published: 11 November 2008

“That’s my track!” yelled Roonie in utter excitement. Ten children, fine Cederberg sand, swept smooth with a broom and Liz leading each one blind-folded round and round and then making a print with their shoe they would later need to identify. “This is an exercise in observation which is one of the focuses of this project” says Elizabeth Bond leader of the Cape Leopard Trust Children’s Education Project. “Each child successfully recognized their respective ‘spoor’ – something that would surely help them if they were lost and needed to find their way back…”

The Cape Leopard Trust (CLT) has had its first Education camp. A small group of children from Bishops Preparatory School in Cape Town were so enamored by the leopard and other animals they saw on a family holiday in the Kalahari, that they resolved to do something themselves to help preserve these animals. Forming a group, Save The Game Campaign, they contacted the Cape Leopard Trust to see what they could do. Quinton and Elizabeth took them on the Trust’s first wilderness camp. Inspired by the plight of the leopards they are now actively canvassing for help to conserve these enigmatic cats. They have already presented a full PowerPoint presentation to their primary school rallying for funding and support of the CLT’s work.

Who better to hold the future in their hands than young people who have learnt to respect and appreciate the importance of wilderness? Thus the Cape Leopard Trust’s wilderness school for children in the Cederberg, supported by the Cederberg Conservancy and Cape Nature will include hikes, artistic exercises, tracking, survival skills, poetry, and scientific data collecting techniques as well as many other life skills. “Through exercises such as tracking and documenting tracks, children will learn the skill of careful observation” says Elizabeth.

“This is important because once a person has observed something closely; they inevitably begin to appreciate and get to know it. This leads to them developing a vital connection with the environment.” The CLT has also been able to encourage community members involved in tourism to use this “sexy” species as the flagship icon it is – attracting attention to the fact that the last remaining large predator in the Western Cape still roams freely in the rugged and beautiful Cape Folded Mountains - a true symbol of Wilderness.

Parents, consider this as an opportunity for your children’s schools and motivate them to book a camp for next year.
Donations welcome: Children in the Cederberg community often don’t have the luxury of backpacks (daypacks); hiking boots etc. If you have any unwanted items that may be useful on these camps, please forward those on to us – your contributions are much needed.

The Cape Leopard Trust Trapping Techniques

icon no trap Short overview of three trapping methods considered by the Cape Leopard Trust as safe and humane

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