Collaborating with WWF Conservation Champions to aid fynbos fauna conservation

Published: 05 February 2020

One of the key components of effective conservation efforts is collaboration with like-minded organisations to strive for a synergistic outcome. For this reason, the Cape Leopard Trust Boland team has partnered with WWF SA’s Conservation Champions initiative in a bid to create more awareness and better management of the threat of illegal hunting with wire snares, in this case particularly on Conservation Champion farms.

Conservation Champions work on a voluntary membership model and are considered to be environmental leaders in SA’s wine industry, with landowners committed to biodiversity-friendly farming practices, conserving their natural areas and continually improving their water and energy efficiencies. This programme presents an ideal vehicle for the CLT to grow snare awareness and work towards incorporating anti-snaring regulations.

As part of this collaboration, the CLT Boland team recently co-presented a learning workshop for farm labourers and managers from a number of wine and fruit farms in the Botriver area. Gabriëlskloof Wine Estate played host to the workshop, with the CLT team presenting on the diversity and value of fynbos wildlife, leopard conservation, and the illegal practice of hunting with wire snares. Participants were shown how to identify the tracks of some of the most common mammals found near farms, how we use leopard rosette patterns to identify them individually, what to look out for to find snares and why it is so important to remove them. The workshop concluded with a snake awareness and basic handling demo by the Cape Reptile Institute which was thoroughly enjoyed by all – and hopefully aided in changing the deeply ingrained notion that all snakes should be killed.

We would like to thank WWF Conservation Champions for the opportunity, and we look forward to similar workshops in other regions to spread the conservation message!

The CLT snare project is funded by grants from Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust managed by Nedbank Private Wealth and Wilderness Foundation Africa: Forever Wild Leopard Conservation Initiative.