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By Carey Saaiman

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Cape Leopard Trust makes tangible environmental changes

The Cape Leopard Trust project, an initiative started in early 2004, has been hard at work  conserving leopards in the Western Cape.

Project Manager and Principal Researcher Quinton Martins, who co-founded the Cape Leopard Trust says, “I started researching leopards in the Cederberg in 2003 and found that there is a need for a broader conservation project studying and conserving leopards, as well as the environment they live in.”

Martins, 38, has been in the Safari industry for 10 years and considers his “work out in the bush” essential to bringing about change in the environment. Having recently submitted his PhD on The Ecology of Leopards Panthera pardus in the Cederberg Mountains, Martins has had the opportunity to work with a team of experts to help grow the project and ensure the effective conservation of our valuable natural heritage.

“This year was really exciting, for the first time in the Western Cape, leopard cubs were monitored from birth, providing intimate details of their breeding behaviour,” adds Martins.

The Cape Leopard Trust also holds education programmes amongst local communities to encourage interest in environmental conservation, and has expanded the project to the Boland Mountains, from Betty’s Bay to the Winterhoek Gourtitz region and Namaqualand areas

The continuation of the long-term leopard research in the Cederberg, as well as the monitoring of leopard breeding are some of the plans on the bucket list of projects for the Cape Leopard trust for 2011.

“It’s very rewarding work to see us make tangible changes in the environment we live in. Wilderness and nature are integral facets of our lives. We need that connection, understanding and a will to see it protected,” ends Martins.

Communities and individuals can visit the Cape Leopard Trust at www.capeleopard.org.za to gain more insight or actively get involved. Contact quinton@capeleopard.org.za.

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