Drie Jaar op die Projek Nuusbrief deur Willem Titus

Published: 27 February 2009

(see English translation below)

Ek het begin op die 6 Febuarie 2006 vir die CLT te werk. Die eerste dag het ek en Quinton 5h:00 vertrek om een van die luiperds op te spoor. Houdini was die luiperd se naam omdat hy self die hok oop gemaak het en ontsnap. Vir my was dit moeilik om luiperd op te spoor vir die eerste dag. Daarna het ons die cameras gaan sien wat in die veld op gestel is. Ek het besluit om dié werk te los. Maar ek het gedink om die geleentheid met al twee hande te gryp. Na drie maande het Quinton gesê dat ek voltyds vir die projek kan werk.

Ek het baie geleer wat ek nie geweet het nie. Ek dink daar is so baie min van ons wat die geleentheid het om vir die CLT te werk. Ek is bly dat ek die kans gekry het. Ek het ook geleer om op die rekenaar te werk - ek het glad niks geweet hoe om met ’n rekenaar te werk nie. Toe Quinton my wys hoe om dit te doen het ek gesê, “Ek kan nie.” Die sweet druppels het van my afgerol. Ek is nog nie 100% in rekenaar werk nie. Vir my min opvoeding wat ek op skool gehad het, kon ek nie glo dat ek vir die CLT so goeie werk kan doen nie. Ek doen die werk met my hele hart.

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Daar is sommige tye wat ons uit gaan van vroeg tot laat, maar ek het daai uithoevermoë. In 2008 het ek en Quinton saam koue dae gehad, om die luiperd hokke uit die vloed water uit te trek.

Elke oggend ry ek in my 4x4, Frikkedel, oor die berge om die luiperd hokke te tjek. As daar ’n luiperd in die hok is, moet ek vir omtrent 2.5km kloof op hardloop, val maar somtyd, opspring en weer hardloop, so geniet ek dit uitasem wanneer ek by Quinton aan kom, “Luiperd in die hok!”

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Daar was goeie dae en ook dae wat dit nie so goed was nie. Toe kom die probleem ek moes leer engels praat, want as daar mense kom wat nie kan Afrikaans praat nie moet ek bereid wees om oor die projek to praat. Dis hoe ek engels leer praat het. Later toe moet ek leer hoe om inligting van die luiperds se nekbande aftelaai. Ons gebruik die ‘VHF radio senders’ om eerste sein te kry. Nou moet die rigting uitgesorteer word watter kant die luiperd is – links of regs.

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Verlede jaar het ons ook ‘n rooikat VHF nekband om gesit. Vir my is dit nou so goed om elke tweede of derde dag die rooikat, Rocky, te gaan opspoor om te sien waar hy oral loop. Ons weet nie hoe groot hulle loop gebied is nie. So het Quinton my alles geleer.

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Ek werk nou drie jaar vir die CLT. Titus en Martins werk goed saam; ons is baie gelukkig.

 


ENGLISH VERSION

Three Years on the Project

I began working for the CLT on 6th February 2006. On the first day, Quinton and I left at 5h:00 to track one of the leopards. Houdini was the leopard’s name, because he opened the cage himself and escaped. It was difficult for me to track leopard on that first day. After that we went to check the cameras that were set in the veld. I decided to leave this work.  But then I thought that I should grab this opportunity with both hands. After three months Quinton said that I could work for the project full time.

I learned a lot that I didn’t know. I think there are so few of us who have the opportunity to work for the CLT. I’m glad that I was given the chance. I also learned to work on the computer – I knew absolutely nothing about working with computers. When Quinton showed me how to do it I said, “I can’t.” The sweat drops rolled off me. I am still not 100% with computer work. With the little education I had at school, I couldn’t believe that I could do such good work for the CLT. I do the work with all my heart.

There are some times that we go out from early till late, but I have that perseverance.  In 2008 Quinton and I had cold days together, pulling the leopard cages out of the flood water.

Every morning I drive over the mountain in my 4x4, Frikkadel, to check the leopard cages. If there’s a leopard in the cage then I must run about 2.5km up the kloof, sometimes falling, then jumping back up and running on. I enjoy it so much when I get to Quinton and, out of breath, shout, “Leopard in the cage!”

There have been good days and also days which weren’t so good. Then came the problem that I had to learn to speak English, because if people come out who can’t speak Afrikaans I must be able tell them about the project. That’s how I learned to speak English. Later I learned how to download information off the leopards’ collars. We use VHF radio senders to get a sign first. Then you need to figure out which direction the leopard is in – left or right.

Last year we also put a VHF collar on a caracal. For me, it’s great to go out every second or third day now, to track the caracal, Rocky, and see where he’s moving. We don’t know yet how big his territory is yet. Thus Quinton taught me everything. I have worked for the CLT for three years now. Titus and Martins work well together; we are very lucky.

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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