The Cape’s majestic sandstone mountains provide spectacular views and scenery to anyone lucky enough to be driving through them. The exquisite beauty and diversity of Fynbos plants, especially when in flower, adds some more flair and allure. Along the coastal routes there is the added chance of glimpsing a whale spouting or breaching, or a pod of dolphins playing in the surf.
However, despite all this beauty and diversity, one very rarely sees any of the mountains’ mammal inhabitants. Most of us would probably only recall basking dassies or a mongoose dashing across the road, or if you’re lucky the odd klipspringer standing sentinel on a rock.
The mischievous baboons leisurely lounging around on the road despite the hazard of approaching traffic is probably the most common sighting. This leads many people to believe that there are very few animals living in this mountain habitat – which is of course not true.
At the heart of The Cape Leopard Trust (CLT) lie three core focal themes – research, conservation and education – interlinked and complementary. We aim to always feed research findings back in order to affect broader conservation and education initiatives. With our environmental education and public awareness programs we hope to inspire individuals and groups into conservation consciousness and action.
As part of a public awareness and education initiative The CLT, in collaboration with our conservation partner CapeNature, have designed an interpretive signboard focussing on mammal diversity and the role of the leopard (Panthera pardus) as the apex terrestrial predator in the Cape’s Mountain Fynbos habitats. Nineteen of these signboards now dot the Boland region at view points along common routes, popular tourist destinations, and CapeNature and City of Cape Town nature reserves.
We are ever grateful to a number of contributors who played an integral part in the successful completion of this project:
- Funding from the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust (managed by Nedbank Private Wealth) covered the printing and manufacture of signboards according to official provincial government specifications.
- Signs were printed and manufactured with nuts, bolts and clamps generously provided at cost by Kohler Signs.
- AgriMark Paarl sponsored treated timber poles for installation.
- MD Civils (Pty) Ltd, sponsored and performed the installation of most of the signboards, according to professional road maintenance standards.