The Cape Leopard Conservation Area (CLCA) is a CLT initiative focussed on the mountain ranges of the Western Cape. Phase 1 of the project will focus on the Boland Project study area. It is a voluntary conservation and responsible management initiative, facilitated by the CLT, in partnership with conservation bodies and private landowners
The CLCA initiative aims to complement, expand and link existing physical conservation areas as well as statutory and public conservation actions.
A significant proportion of South Africa’s biodiversity resides in the hands of private landowners. Private land surrounding core protected areas in the Boland supports a plethora of animal species, including the elusive Cape mountain leopard. The conservation of this peripheral habitat, the promotion of sustainable land-use and harvesting practices, and instilling a consciousness and appreciation for biodiversity among the general public all play a key role in the long-term survival of leopards, their prey and their habitat, ensuring overall habitat integrity.
Main attributes (How?):
The three components of the CLCA initiative are:
- Public awareness & environmental education
- Voluntary conservation stewardship
Public awareness & environmental education
The Cape Leopard Trust’s focus on environmental education builds bridges between landowners, farm workers and residents of the urban fringe so that they can take ownership of protecting the natural environment and biodiversity within their immediate area.
The iconic nature of the leopard allows for communication of the importance of biodiversity (healthy prey base); the threats of alien invasive plants (fire & water-catchment management); the impact of illegal hunting and the use of wire snares (over-utilisation); the far-reaching effect of poisons and pesticides; and habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation.
Apart from regular public talks, educational outings, popular articles on websites and newspapers and news on social media platforms, the CLT has designed, printed and installed interpretive signboards on leopards & other mammals at selected nature and private reserves, lookout points & laybys along popular tourist routes throughout the Boland area.
The Cape Leopard Trust facilitates and conducts research on predator ecology, human-wildlife conflict, as well as applicable broader faunal research.
A telemetry study investigating the effects of landscape fragmentation, human habitation and habitat alteration on leopard movement and habitat use
A study into the extent and drivers of illegal hunting with wire snares in the Boland area
Voluntary conservation stewardship
The Western Cape’s historical Protected Area network alone does not adequately protect the majority of local ecosystems or biodiversity. Conservation bodies have identified the need to expand the Protected Area network, particularly as most of the province’s biodiversity lies within private ownership, enjoying very little legislative protection. A key means to achieve this is via the Stewardship Program, where Critical Biodiversity Areas (CBA’s) on private property is secured for protection in collaboration with private landowners. Landowners maintain ownership of the land but undertake to protect and manage their property or part thereof according to sound conservation management principles. In return the protected area agency supports this management by, for example, providing advice, management plans and assistance in planning alien clearing and fire management schedules. Due to limited resources priority is given to properties falling within or containing CBA’s.
The Cape Leopard Trust aims to facilitate and recognise conservation stewardship by all landowners outside of defined CBA’s. Once a landowner has signed up to be part of this project, there needs to be follow-up to ensure that the agreements entered into are honoured. Aspects will include voluntary agreements to a) pledge undeveloped land on private property to remain in its natural state; b) rehabilitate previously cultivated land no longer in use; c) commit to a zero tolerance no-snaring policy; d) commit to alien clearing
The CLCA initiative is built on sound working relationships, communication and information sharing with partners in conservation. Our partners include:
- Cape Nature
- City of Cape Town Biodiversity Management
- Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve
- Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve
- Conservation at Work
- WWF (Biodiversity & Wine Initiative; Sustainable Fruit Initiative)
- Conservation South Africa (Green Choice Alliance)
- Participating private landowners