The Leopard Bus Gets A Makeover

The Leopard Bus Gets A Makeover
Published: 20 March 2019

Last year, the CLT Mercedes Sprinter bus clocked up a total of 10 697 kilometres. In addition, we reached a total of 9822 people through our various programmes, of which 95 % were children. These numbers almost translate to 1 child reached per kilometre driven in the bus in 2018! Our loyal work horse on wheels has spent many years and kilometres transporting children and adults around Cape Town, the Boland and the Cederberg as an essential part of our environmental education project.

The education component of our work consists of talks and presentations, wilderness camps, regular contact sessions in the form of eco-clubs at schools, day-trips or outings into nature, school holiday programmes, as well as attending workshops and exhibitions. The majority of these activities require the use of our bus to transport participants to the various destinations, whether it is to our campsite in the Cederberg or to a hiking trail in the Boland mountains.

After all the wear and tear, the CLT bus finally got to the point where it needed some tender-loving-care. Thanks to funding kindly made available to us by the National Lotteries Commission, we made arrangements for the bus to undergo a rigorous transformation process to get it back to tip top condition. The bus exterior and interior was inspected, stripped and repaired to fix areas where there was rust or water leakage, and while we had a blank canvas to work with it was an opportunity to give the outside of the bus a facelift. With the help of designer, Athol Moult of Flintsky, we are excited to present the new-look leopard bus, and since 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of the CLT education project and the 15-year anniversary of the Cape Leopard Trust it seemed fitting to make this the time to present a striking new image.

Our focus in the education project is to create awareness and share knowledge with the youth about the importance of protecting our environment so people come to love and appreciate nature and help us to protect leopard habitat. We use the charismatic leopard to address a variety of environmental challenges such as climate change, water and food security, biodiversity conservation in a changing and diverse world, and human-wildlife conflict to explain the increasing threats to wildlife. We are fortunate to be able to use data from our scientific research to inform and shape the learning material to ensure that it is current and leopard relevant.

The leopard bus is a vital part of our programme. The fact that we can offer mobility to our groups, means we can share our world with all sectors of society. It is an incredibly humbling to witness the excitement when the children see us arrive to collect them, and it is an absolute privilege to be able to take young people out into the wild and enable them to experience the beauty of nature first hand and up close. It is this unique aspect of our programme that can help to motivate positive behaviour change through improved understanding, and ultimately our goal is for young people to be empowered to take ownership of protecting their own heritage, and of course leopards for generations to come.

We would like to thank the following companies for helping us with the daunting makeover processes:

  • Phoenix in Killarney Gardens (bus wrap)
  • Big Bodies in Goodwood (bus exterior)
  • Anmar Upholstery in Brackenfell (Bus interior)

Look out for the new look ‘leopard bus’ along the roads, and we look forward to sharing many adventures to come in 2019! Enjoy these images of the bus before and after.

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