We finally have photographic proof: The Cape Mountain Leopards roam Simonskloof! Yesterday, a week after on of the guest took a photo of two Leopard prints down toward Keerom dam, I downloaded the data from the two camera traps set up by the Landmark Foundation. And what a joy: 1 Leopard, 2 Rooikat, several Steenbokkies, 1 Rhebok, a couple of Scrub Hare (still hoping to spot the Riverine Rabbit…) 1 Honey Badger, 3 Spotted Genet, and a couple of dogs and guests either in 4×4’s, MTB’s or on foot, including Kanda and Matata our border collies.
Wonderful news indeed to know these cats are still alive and kicking right on the edge of a sheep farming area.
To see more of the pictures taken please visit our Facebook page!
On 17th June 2012 – Ziggy & Carolyn, two field researchers from the “Landmark Foundation” visited Simonskloof with a camera trap in hand and a sign stating Simonskloof a Leopard Friendly Farm. Sunday lunch was almost ready, but some things come first, so we drove down the kloof and after a quick hike across “Hemel Bome” our rather alien orchard of old bonsai pear trees of 1.5 m height and way over 30 year old alive and well, well “Heaven Trees” not for nothing. But I’m diverting, sorry…
So there I took them down that little contributory to the Nuy River, where I frequently spot Leopard tracks when taking guests kloofing. Nothing that day, well typical… But to my amazement the experts had a much simpler location in mind anyhow! So before we returned to their 4×4, I showed them the old leopard trap on the edge of the orchard. The trap must have been used last when the trees were planted in the 1970’s but its trapdoors got burned in the many bush fires this mountain has seen over the many years and so rendered useless – or leopard friendly 🙂 It also is unusually big, was Ziggy’s comment the normal size is a quarter of this one… that way the leopard once caught will not run wildly around the cage and charge at the approaching person and thus hurt itself – makes sense.
Back down at the 4×4, Carolyn quickly got to work and installed the camera trap nearby where they sensed the leopard would walk past. The batteries should last a month, so let’s see what the lens will pick up. We’ll definitely keep you posted!
Oh and for those “Geocachers” of you, go and check: “Leopard Friendly Trap” GC3NXYX it’s Matata’s latest cache, in admiration of the good work of the Landmark Foundation.