Spot the Cape Leopard

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Carry this bag to show your support!

leopard-pack-shotAs part of their Good Business Journey, Woolworths is proud to support initiatives like The Cape Leopard Trust. Through partnerships with their customers and organisations like The Cape Leopard Trust, Woolworths is increasing awareness of the environmental issues around the Cape Leopards, while actively supporting The Cape Leopard Trust’s projects. Through the sale of each bag, Woolworths donates R10 to The Cape Leopard Trust.

WHAT IS THE CAPE LEOPARD TRUST?

The Cape Leopard Trust, established 2004, is a Non-Government Organisation that functions as an active predator research and conservation working group, with a primary focus on leopard. The CLT uses scientific research to aid leopard and predator conservation, seeking solutions to human-wildlife conflict and inspiring greater interest in the environment through an interactive and dynamic environmental education programme.

Long term research and monitoring are vital in order to effectively manage and conserve an elusive and far-ranging top predator such as the leopard – one needs sound knowledge and understanding of its behaviour, diet and habitat requirements. Before the pioneering work undertaken by The Cape Leopard Trust, very little was known about the ecology of leopards in the Cape mountains. Studies have since shown that leopards in the Cape differ morphologically and genetically from leopards elsewhere in southern Africa, however they are not classified as a separate subspecies. Leopard home ranges in our study areas may be as much as 10 times larger than those reported in earlier research, illustrating that population numbers are far lower than previously estimated. Because of these low densities, large home ranges and limited suitable habitat, leopards in the Cape mountains may be far more threatened than many other leopard populations.

Mission: To ensure the long-term survival of leopard populations by facilitating the protection of natural landscapes and promoting peaceful coexistence, empowered by scientific research, positive community partnerships, environmental education and advocacy.


HOW WILL YOUR SUPPORT HELP? 

The funding will support leopard monitoring and research across our core work areas, in the Boland and the Cederberg, along the Cape Fold Mountain system. Leopards in the Cape, numbering no more than a few hundred individuals, are threatened due to their low densities, large home range requirements and fragmentation of their habitat. Although core mountain reserves remain preserved, edges (or fringe habitat) are impacted by habitat alteration, resulting in the Boland mountain complex which, as human encroachment increases, is evermore creating an island of leopard habitat within a sea of degraded land.

Funds will be directed to a current focus and concern, the establishment of a project in the Boland study area in partnership with the Wilderness Foundation, which involves a multi-level interview based threat analysis detailing the prevalence of current and potential threats to leopards in the region, including illegal hunting using wire snares or dogs, packs of feral dogs, road mortalities, direct persecution etc. Illegal hunting and feral dogs pose both a direct and indirect threat to the persistence of leopards – a top predator in the Mountain Fynbos ecosystem. First, the predators themselves can be caught and killed it, and second, it depletes the leopards’ prey base (by removing grysbok, duiker and porcupine from the habitat).

Another important component of this work is a directed awareness and education programme aimed at increasing public awareness and knowledge about identified environmental issues, connecting previously uninformed people with nature, and correcting common misconceptions about leopard ecology & behaviour.


WHEN WAS THE PROJECT INITIATED? 

Established in March 2010, The Cape Leopard Trust Boland Project started out as a large-scale camera trap survey to:

  • record leopard presence and estimate population numbers,

  • study leopard diet, activity, movement patterns etc,

  • document mammal distribution and relative abundance,

  • create public awareness about the biodiversity of the Boland mountains.

This baseline leopard research, the first for the area in three decades, formed the basis for further studies. A substantial sample of leopard scats (droppings) were collected and analysed, which served to establish a representative contemporary record of leopard diet for the region. Identification of individual leopards and knowledge of estimated territories from the camera trap photo data poised the project for a detailed telemetry study of habitat use and movement patterns of leopards in the fragmented, human-modified environment of the Boland mountains using GPS collar data.

Where is the Boland study area?

The Cape Leopard Trust has two core research areas, the Boland and the Cederberg

The Boland Project study area stretches from north of Bainskloof near Wellington, southward to the Kogelberg coast. This area comprises roughly 2000km2 of Mountain Fynbos habitat which includes six core Protected Areas managed by two statutory conservation bodies (CapeNature; City of Cape Town Biodiversity Management). These include the CapeNature Limietberg, Hottentots-Holland, Jonkershoek, Groenlandberg and Kogelberg Nature Reserves, and the CoCT Helderberg and Steenbras Reserves. A large proportion of the study area consist of water catchment areas, private nature reserves and privately owned land adjacent to the core protected areas. Also noteworthy is that this area overlaps with the UNESCO designated Cape Winelands and Kogelberg Biosphere Reserves – areas recognised for their biological and cultural diversity and value.

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HOW WILL THE FUNDS BE USED TO FURTHER THE PROJECT ?

Land managers and conservation bodies believe that illegal hunting and snaring for bushmeat in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) is an emerging biodiversity concern, however, the severity of the problem is unclear due to a paucity of rigorous scientific data. It is of vital importance to assess incidence of illegal hunting and the impact on leopard populations and prey species. This project requires considerable logistical support as well as institutional collaboration and public participation. Funds generated will enable the research team to visit farms and communities in remote areas throughout the 2000km2 study area to conduct interview-base questionnaires. Questionnaires will form the basis of valuable data collation to be used for the development of management guidelines and actions in conjunction with conservation authorities across our study areas, leading to improved management and monitoring of leopard populations to ensure their long-term survival.

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Who are the principle people in the organisation, who will be directly involved in the implementation of the funds?

Helen Turnbull – CEO, The Cape Leopard Trust

Lana Müller – Research & Logistics Manager, The Cape Leopard Trust,

Anita Wilkinson & Jeannie Hayward – Researchers and Co-ordinators of The Cape Leopard Trust Boland Project


HOW TO OFFER FURTHER SUPPORT?  

Purchasing one the Leopard bags are already shows your support of this project.

Spread the message – help create awareness about the plight of leopards locally and globally

Share info with us – if you are aware of illegal hunting activities in the study area (or beyond in the Western Cape) please share this info with boland@capeleopard.org.za

Donate – cash donations to The CLT are tax deductible.


 MEDIA & OTHER LINKS

 

Website: http://capeleopard.org.za/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cape_leopard

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/capeleopardtrust/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/capeleopard

For more info on the Bags4good project, go to:

www.bags4good.org.za

or e-mail goodbusinessjourney@woolworths.co.za


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