September 05, 2017

The Cape Leopard Trust, a non-profit organization, conducts research and aims to conserve the Cape Leopard in the mountainous regions of the Western Cape. Their research has expanded to include the Boland Mountains. They conduct field research on leopards and predators, and also work closely with local farmers and communities to help with conservation efforts. Parallel to their research and conservation efforts is the education programme, which hosts environmental camps and day trips for young people from all walks of life at their facility in the Cederberg Wilderness Area. The programme educates on average 5500 youngsters per year on all matters pertaining to conservation and the impact it has on the greater biodiversity.

Research shows that there are only about 35 territorial leopards remaining in the Cederberg Wilderness Area, and between 600 to 900 leopards remaining in the greater Cape Mountains, which extends all the way to the Baviaanskloof. Numbers are dwindling, meaning there is a lot more that needs to be done to protect these majestic animals. Because they are so elusive, there is still very little information available about their behavior, i.e. how much distance they cover, how often they interact with one another, how often they eat, etc. Their habitat is becoming smaller due to clearing of natural vegetation for agriculture and urban development. Human/animal conflict remains one of the biggest threats to their existence. It is currently illegal to trap, or kill a leopard, but their existence remains threatened despite this.The CLT Cederberg Project has recently installed 150 camera traps, at a cost of R600 000, in the Cederberg Wilderness Area and surrounding farms. They also have similar research projects on the go in the Boland Mountains and they would like to expand their research to the Overberg. They are not government funded and relies solely on corporate and public support.

Over the weekend of 26/27 August 2017 The Cape Leopard Trust moved their campsite venue in the Cederberg from the historic Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve, Toktokkie campsite, to the Rietgat campsite at Sanddrif, approximately 15km west. Hi-Tec Trade Marketing Executive, Ben van der Westhuizen, was on hand in the Cederberg to assist with the move.

Helen Turnbull, Cape Leopard Trust CEO, explained that the old campsite where the education project started with educational camps is no longer safe. The campsite was situated in an old Poplar grove, and due to the drought and the age of the trees, dead branches had started to fall. Helen said that the team will definitely miss the old campsite, but by the same token, the new campsite at Rietgat is a step up with hot showers, electricity, flushing toilets and huts to sleep in – luxuries they did not have at the old campsite.

The Cape Leopard Trust needs your help. You can make a donation, or you can purchase some awesome Cape Leopard Trust Merchandise from the online shop. Visit www.capeleopard.org.za to find out more.

Hi-Tec is a proud supporter of the Cape Leopard Trust, and to show our commitment we have donated R25 000 towards a new log cabin at Rietgat for the Cape Leopard Trust, In addition, Hi-Tec will be the Cape Leopard Trust apparel and footwear sponsor for 2018. 

Written by: Ben van der Westhuizen

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