Exciting results from the CLT Boland project!

Published: 01 March 2011

The first phase of the CLT Boland project – the Limietberg survey – came to an end in November 2010. During this 4-month survey, 46 camera stations (totalling 70 cameras) were deployed in the area between Bain’s Kloof in the north, and Franschhoek and Kaaimansgat in the south. The cameras picked up a total of 22 mammal species, including African weasel, African wildcat, Cape fox, caracal, honey badger, small- & large-spotted genet, small & large grey mongoose, striped polecat and water mongoose.

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An inquisitive young baboon inspects the camera

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A klipspringer near Louwshoek

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Two porcupines near Voorsorg

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A small-spotted genet with dinner it its mouth, near Brandvlei dam

To our delight, a staggering 21 adult leopards, 4 cubs and one sub-adult were identified in the survey area. These figures suggest that leopard density in the Limietberg appear to be higher than in the Cederberg. Further analyses will be conducted to confirm this. Eleven males and 5 females were identified –more conclusive photographs are required to determine the sex of the other 5 individuals. This seemingly skewed sex ratio is not a true reflection of the actual sex ratio – rather males are captured more often on cameras since cameras are placed on paths which males use more often than females. Research using GPS in the Cederberg confirms this behaviour, showing females using less direct routes, often back-tracking and criss-crossing their range in a seemingly random fashion. Here follows a brief breakdown of the Limietberg leopards:

 

Leopard *

Area

BF1

[adopted by Leopard’s Leap Wines, still to be named]
Wemmershoek dam area

BF2 – Safara

Bain’s Kloof area

BF3 – Lyla

Wemmershoek dam area

BF4 – Dotty

Voorsorg area

BM1 – Jabulani

Springstygbeugel & Du Toit’s Kloof area

BM2 – Merlot

Springstygbeugel & Slanghoek valley

BM3 – Sambo

Kaaimansgat area, Stettyns mountains, Stettynskloof

BM4

[adopted by Leopard’s Leap Wines, still to be named]
Greater Wemmershoek area

BM5

[adopted by Leopard’s Leap Wines, still to be named]
Stettyns mountains, Stettynskloof, Kaaimansgat area

BM6 – Doc Martins

Bain’s Kloof area

BM7 – BJK1

[adopted by BJK Industries]
Brandvlei, Voorsorg & Groot Eiland areas, Stettyns mountains

BM8 – Safiri

Bain’s Kloof area, Slanghoek valley

BM9 – Stripe

Groot Eiland area

BM10 – Felix

Du Toit’s Kloof area

BM11 – Basjan

Bain’s Kloof area

*BF = Boland female; BM = Boland male

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Merlot (BM2) in the Slanghoek valley. The skew photograph is the handiwork of inquisitive baboons.

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BF1 (top) and Lyla (BF3, bottom) in the Wemmershoek valley. Note the small size of Lyla, considering that the camera stands around 40cm above ground level.

Since the cameras have been removed, a number of large veld fires raged across parts of the Limietberg, including Du Toitskloof and the Voorsorg & Louwshoek areas near Rawsonville. We were very relieved that none of our cameras were lost in the fires, but the risk of fires in the Southern Survey area still remains. The fires should not significantly influence leopard movement – data from the Cederberg has shown that leopards still maintain and patrol their territories even in burnt areas.

During the Limietberg survey, various volunteers donated time and resources to assist us in the deployment, servicing and taking down of cameras – to all of you we say a big thank you!

The Southern Survey of the CLT Boland project is currently underway, with 82 cameras at 50 different locations in the Jonkershoek, Hottentots-Holland, Groenlandberg and Kogelberg reserves and surrounding mountain catchment. This survey will run until mid-March, after which all the cameras will be moved into the area between Bain’s Kloof and Beaverlac Nature Reserve near Porterville. After the completion of this northern survey, the cameras will be moved back into the Limietberg for another survey in a different season.

With best wishes from the Boland!

Jeannie & Anita

Jeannie Hayward & Anita Meyer
Co-ordinators: CLT Boland Project
E-mail: boland@capeleopard.org.za

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