Leopard’s Leap winery, based in South Africa, is one of a handful of wine estates with more than wine production on their minds. Following in the footsteps of the late industrialist, Dr Anton Rupert, who started Leopard’s Leap wines with Hein Koegelenberg; this wine estate also focuses on conservation- more specifically – the Cape leopard and the Cape Leopard Trust, which it sponsors. Their support has been on-going and ever increasing since the projects inception in 2004. They now stand as one of the CLT’s main sponsors.
The CLT was thrilled to receive the news of a R77,000 sponsorship from ESRI South Africa. This sponsorship was for ESRI GIS mapping and data analysing tools. ESRI SA is the sole distributor for the ESRI ArcGIS product range in Southern Africa and have established themselves as the leader in GIS technology over the past 20 years - organising, integrating and analysing spatial information through innovative Geographic Information Systems technology, making it accessible enterprise wide for advanced decision making.
The CLT prides itself in robust scientific research and requires analytical tools in order to make sense of a multitude of data collected while in the field. These ArcGIS tools help us map leopard movements, calculate home ranges, leopard activity, habitat preferences and many more fascinating aspects relating to our research work.
We would like to thank the Deutsche Bank Africa Foundation for its ongoing support of our project. This year, the CLT received another very generous donation of R50,000 towards its Boland project in the Western Cape. This support will be integral in the day-to-day running of this dynamic project. Anita Meyer and Jeannie Hayward, the two researchers running the project were thrilled to hear the news. Their work, in collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s Animal Demography Unit (http://adu.org.za ), is aimed at not only establishing leopard population size from Betty’s Bay right up to the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, but also to look at assessing abundance of all mammals large enough to be caught on infra-red camera (usually anything bigger than a mouse). This is one of the largest remote camera surveys done world-wide.
Conservation International SA
The CLT believes that there is one robust and reliable technique to keep predators from livestock, and that is through the age-old system of livestock herding. The past 60 years has seen a dramatic move from livestock management to predator management in areas in the Karoo and Northern Cape, much based on the advent of jackal-proof fencing in the 1930’s-50’s. These methods have obviously not been successful based on continual losses and costs of effort to remove predators. The jackal-proof fences (previously government subsidized) are currently falling into disrepair, are prohibitively expensive and are resulting in massive imbalances in the faunal constituents in these areas, affecting biodiversity and farming production.
The answer is seen in recreating the herding tradition, however, in a modern and more attractive way. Herders will be called Eco-Rangers, and will be trained to (i) monitor and protect livestock on private and communal farming areas in Namaqualand; (ii) to monitor and record all faunal activity while in the field with livestock using Cybertracker technology, making use of direct observations as well as spoor; (iii) observe and record feeding habits of livestock in this sensitive environment; and (iv) facilitate tourism activities whereby tourists can accompany rangers in the field while on duty. The CLT and Conservation International SA (CI-SA) have partnered in this new dynamic project. CI-SA have assisted with a R50,000 fund towards the beginning of this unique pilot project.
The CLT would like to thank Gavin Durell for his generous donation of R20,000. We are aware that every cent the trust receives should be used as efficiently and effectively as possible. Thank you for your support. It is most valued.
As the CLT has grown as a project, so has our requirement for our team’s outdoor clothing. Capestorm have been an incredible supporter of our project in this regard, proving all team members with the very best outdoor clothing available – from Front Point rain jackets to the indispensible Tech Long hiking pants. Thanks to Capestorm for this amazing support (www.capestorm.co.za ).
Optron Geomatics supports the Cape Leopard Trust
The generous sponsorship of a Trimble Juno pocket-sized field computer is streamlining the recording of field observations for the Cape Leopard Trust researchers. These units feature a built-in GPS navigation system, which, together with freely available CyberTracker software (www.cybertracker.org ), enables one to take instant, detailed, geo-referenced records of just about everything you observe in the field – from animal sightings to bushman paintings to water points. Best of all, it’s in digital format - no more tedious hours of sitting in front of a computer logging field notes! Thank you Optron Geomatics (www.optron.com )!!
Of course we must thank Matthew, Robyn and the rest of the team for their sterling efforts to keep our ever-growing website up-to-date. The site is in the process of undergoing a dramatic metamorphosis, providing more detailed information on each of the study areas. As soon as Quinton’s PhD is completed, this comprehensive and detailed mass of information will be disseminated in the form of a report, outlining the work over the past 7 years which tells the story of the ecology of one of the Cape’s most secretive animals – the Cape leopard. www.raramuridesign.com
Agama Tented Camp
The Cape Leopard Trust would like to thank Victor Burke of Agama Tented Camp (www.agamacamp.co.za ) for accommodating the CLT during its first Eco-Rangers camp in Namaqualand. This tented camp set in the Kamiesberg mountains is an ideal place for hikers, mountain-bikers and anyone wanting a quiet break in nature. Specifically known for its amazing flowers in spring, this area is also wonderful o visit in winter and autumn.
Thanks to Market Toyota Culemborg for their support of the project. All servicing of the education Hilux 4x4 are done labour-free. Market Toyota have been supporting the project since 2007.
ORMS Pro-Photo Lab
Thanks to Orms for continually providing us support by providing all project equipment at their cost price. This has helped us considerably. Thank you.
Thanks to Geoff and Jean from Outward Ventures for arranging all our project footwear. All project members are out there hiking in the best possible boots – Sportiva.