Wednesday, 02 November 2011
LEOPARD SPOTTED ON THE CONTEGO WINES2WHALES MTB ROUTE
The coordinators of the Cape Leopard Trust (CLT) Boland Project are excited to announce that a young leopard has been photographed at Paul Cluver (De Rust Estate, Grabouw), a mere two months after the deployment of three digital camera traps at strategically selected points on the Wines2Whales (W2W) MTB route.
According to Anita Meyer of the CLT Boland Project the leopard sighted at Paul Cluver is a new individual. “We do not yet have record of this specific leopard. It looks as if it could be female, but then it could possibly also be a young male, unfortunately for now it is difficult to tell. The goal of the W2W camera traps was to give the Boland Project the opportunity to survey new locations within the study area, not only for leopard activity but also for the presence of other nocturnal and shy mammals. We are happy to say that in addition to the leopard, our cameras also captured photographs of baboons, dassies, large-spotted genets, porcupines, small grey mongooses, bushbuck, duikers, Egyptian Geese and guinea fowl. We are really pleased with our findings and can’t wait to find out which other animals roam these areas,” says Meyer.
Three of the five camera traps donated by Wines2Whales were positioned along the W2W route at Houw Hoek, Paul Cluver and Schapenberg respectively as identified by Johan Kriegler, founder of the W2W routes. “Mountain biking is about nature and the conservation thereof. The Cape Leopard is an integral part of the eco-system of the Cape Mountains where the W2W trails are and we view them as a unique partner of the W2W. The Cape Leopard Trust is doing a splendid job in protecting and conserving the Cape Leopard. The remaining two camera traps will be positioned at Oak Valley and at the top of Gantouw Pass after the Contego Wines2Whales MTB Race the weekend of 11 – 13 November 2011,” says Kriegler.
Starting in the Winelands of Somerset West, riders will cross through (and over) 13 wineries, 26 private farms, six mountains, historic roads and mountain passes, nature conservation areas (including the Kogelberg Biosphere) before finishing within sight of the famous whales of Hermanus!
CONTEGO WINES2WHALES MTB ADVENTURE: Friday, 04 November 2011 until Sunday, 06 November 2011
CONTEGO WINES2WHALES MTB RACE: Friday, 11 November 2011 until Sunday, 13 November 2011
STAGE ONE: 70km
Start 07h00 Lourensford Wine Estate (Somerset West)
Finish Grabouw Country Club
STAGE TWO: 65km
Start 07h00 Grabouw Country Club
Finish Grabouw Country Club
STAGE THREE: 85km
Start 07h00 Grabouw Country Club
Finish Onrus Caravan Park by Hermanus
The CLT Boland Project will be at the Contego Wines2Whales MTB Adventure Race Village at Grabouw Country Club on Saturday, 05 November 2011. Riders and spectators are encouraged to show their support on the day.
For more information on the Cape Leopard and the work of the Cape Leopard Trust, go to www.capeleopard.org.za. For more information on the Contego Wines2Whales MTB Adventure and Race powered by Maserati contact 076 118 0874, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wines2whales.co.za
Cape Leopard Trust and the Cape Leopard Trust Boland Project:
The Cape Leopard Trust is an NGO that is involved in innovative research, conservation and education projects established to facilitate and promote the conservation of biological diversity, with a focus on Cape Leopards (Panthera pardus) as a flagship species.
The CLT Boland Project centres on the Boland mountains stretching from the Kogelberg at Kleinmond and Bettysbay, northwards through the Hottentots-Holland and Groenlandberg, Jonkershoek and Limietberg mountains, up to the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness near Porterville. The CLT also have active research projects in the Cederberg, Namaqualand and Gamka areas.
Main sponsors of the Cape Leopard Trust Boland Project:
Avis, the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust (as administered by BoE) and Leopards Leap Wines.
Additional information on the Cape Leopard:
To date the CLT Boland Project has identified a total of forty-one adult leopards in the area stretching from Bain’s Kloof in the north, southward through the Du Toits Kloof Mountains, Jonkershoek and the Hottentots-Holland Mountains towards the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve in the south. These leopards have all been identified with the aid of camera trap photos, each individual Leopard’s rosette patterns are unique (similar to the human finger print) and can therefore be used to identify individuals.
The Cape Leopards occur in the mountainous regions of the Cape.
Cape Leopards are much smaller than those elsewhere in Africa, being about half the mass. On average, the females weigh about 20kg, while the males weigh in at about 35kg.
Cape Leopards also have exceptionally large home ranges. (Leopards in Kruger: Male ranges – 25-50km2, female ranges – 10-25km2; Leopards in Cederberg: Male ranges – 200-1000km2, female ranges – 80-180km2)
Because of the nature of their low densities, large home ranges and limited suitable habitat Leopards in the Cape are far more threatened than many other Leopard populations.
Why are leopards important?
Apart from being beautiful, enigmatic creatures that epitomise wilderness they are also the top predator in the Cape and by doing what is necessary to protect them we can simultaneously protect all the other animals that inhabit their ecosystem.
What are the main threats to Cape Leopards?
The main threats to Cape Leopards are habitat loss due to development, and extermination by people trying to protect their livestock. Natural threats, especially to cubs, include other predators such as Black Eagles, snakes, disease and malnutrition. Leopards are also known to kill each other when vying for territory, or killing another Leopard’s cubs when moving into a vacant territory.
How many cubs does a Leopard have and how often?
There are 2 -3 cubs in a litter. If a female is successful in raising young, the inter-birthing period is 18months to about two years. Very little is known about the reproduction of the Cape Leopard. It is a very tough environment and from observations in the Cederberg there seems to be a high mortality rate (at least 50%, probably much higher), especially when cubs are in their first few months. Even when they are older (juveniles) they are still in danger, especially from other territorial leopards. Until males are about four years old, they have to find a way to survive in other dominant males’ territories, so they must be very careful not to make their presence obvious. The females are ready to breed at about three years of age. In the Cederberg a long-term research project is being conducted in order to observe trends over time, such as the percentage of Leopards surviving to breeding age.
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