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Celebrate International Leopard Day

Celebrate International Leopard Day

Celebrate International Leopard Day

Article for Leopard's Leap by Tamlyn Ryan

In South Africa, leopards form part of our world-famous Big 5. These gorgeous spotted wild cats are found in natural habitats and game reserves across our diverse country, roaming the mountains, bushveld and savannas of our beautiful land with stealth, skill and no small amount of elegance.

Yet, like so many of our earth’s precious wildlife, these secretive, secluded big cats are sadly under threat from encroaching human development, conflict with livestock owners and poaching.

This is why organisations like The Cape Leopard Trust and its partners – as well as other vital conservation organisations across Africa and the globe – are so integral to the protection and preservation of these solitary hunters.

With this goal firmly in mind, 3 May is now officially recognised and celebrated as International Leopard Day.

Doing Our Bit This International Leopard Day

However, it is not just local conservation experts and not-for-profit organisations that must do their bit to protect and preserve both the natural habitats and safety of these elusive big cats.

Indeed, the responsibility falls to each of us to do our bit to aid wildlife conservation; create awareness around threatened or vulnerable animal species for ourselves and others; and give back to worthy causes and conservation efforts in whatever way, shape or form we can.

As we dwell or explore habitats where these secretive wild cats still roam, we are called to be mindful as citizens, hikers, MTB enthusiasts, landowners, travellers and drivers.

Leopard’s Leap: Where Winemaking and the Leopards Matter

Leopard's Leap Family Vineyards in Franschhoek

Conceptualised by winemaker, businessman and CEO of Leopard’s Leap, Hein Koegelenberg, at the turn of the century – Leopard’s Leap has become a household name, famous not just for its incredible wines, great food and family-friendly atmosphere in Franschhoek – but also for its innovation, responsible farming and admiration for the local nature and landscapes that so powerfully inspire both its winemaking process and its wines.

For this esteemed estate, the choice to actively support and fund the protection and conservation of the leopards of the Cape has always been a straightforward one. One example of this is how Leopard’s Leap helps sponsor some of the Cape Leopard Trust’s important conservation initiatives.

Leopard’s Leap invites guests and wine lovers to enjoy not only their amazing wines, which include a very special Pardus red wine blend, but also to share in its “passion for food, literature and conservation”.

Pardus and Preserving the King of the Cape Mountains

Leopard's Leap CEO Hein Koegelenberg and Winemaker Renier van Deventer with a bottle of Pardus.

Pardus, a special red blend by Hein Koegelenberg, is inspired by the King of the Cape Mountains. (Click here for Hein's introduction of Pardus)

Pardus is Latin for panther or leopard, so it is a fitting name for a wine blend so closely entwined with protecting national wildlife treasures, like the leopards of the Cape.

This popular red wine recognises not just the intense charisma, gentle approachability and feline elegance of these wild cats – it also honours the Cape’s natural beauty and rich biodiversity.

(Click here to read more or to shop for Pardus, the wine)

How the Cape Leopard Trust and Leopard’s Leap Work Together

Since its inception in 2004, for nearly twenty years now, the Cape Leopard Trust (CLT) – a registered, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation based in the Western Cape – has served as a relatively unsung local conservation hero.

Today, they are a leading authority on predator conservation in South Africa, with a particular, important focus on leopards as their flagship species.

The CLT diligently works to understand leopards; drive meaningful conservation actions; create public awareness; and above all, promote a peaceable co-existence between these majestic leopards and humans.

CLT has a key three-pillar approach -– research, conservation and education -– that ensures their work has broad application and impact, with an emphasis on collaboration between local communities, private landowners and partner organisations.

To highlight the importance of International Leopard Day (3 May) and to shed some light on the vulnerability and daily plight of the leopards of the Cape, we spoke to Jeannie Hayward, the Communications and Media Manager at the Cape Leopard Trust.

With an impressive background in and passion for wildlife research, educational public awareness and informed nature conservation, Jeannie has become a powerful representative and spokesperson for the Cape Leopard Trust.

Both she and the Cape Leopard Trust are striving hard to raise the profile of the Cape’s elusive, vulnerable leopards:

Jeannie, firstly, thank you for carving some time out of your day to chat to us. Could you please begin by sharing some insights into the Cape Leopard Trust and your role within the organisation?

“The Cape Leopard Trust is a small but dynamic organisation with a big vision – to ensure that leopards continue to survive and thrive in the Cape region.

We consist of a core team of dedicated, passionate permanent staff, along with post-graduate students, field verification officers and conservation champion farmers.

We work on a multitude of different initiatives that all fall under the banners of scientific- and social-research, applied conservation and environmental education and outreach.

We are guided by a Board of Trustees; advised by a Scientific Advisory Board; and supported by several brand ambassadors.

I joined the CLT in 2010 as a field researcher and project coordinator for a leopard study based in the Boland Mountain Chain. I started gravitating towards science communication – and in 2020, I became the Communications and Media Manager for the CLT.

While I am still involved with research and conservation activities, my first priority is to ensure that our research and educational content, as well as our conservation message, is disseminated to a wide public audience.”

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is globally listed as 'Vulnerable' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Additionally, active research and field studies show that leopards in the Cape regions (that is, South Africa's Western, Eastern and Northern Cape) occur at far lower densities than those in South Africa's savanna or bushveld habitats.

What makes the leopards of the Cape/fynbos so vulnerable or few(er) in number? And what can South Africans do to help alleviate the threats they face?

“The leopard is the last large predator and last member of the Big 5 to still roam free in the Western Cape.

Historically, they were classified as ‘vermin’ and people were actually paid to shoot leopards. This continued unabated for more than 300 years, but, despite this intense pressure on the population, leopards have managed to persist, finding refuge in the rugged mountain ranges of the Cape provinces.

Leopards here utilise huge home ranges. Leopard prey in the Cape mountains is smaller, occurs at much lower densities and in much more rugged terrain compared to the Savanna.

Leopards therefore need large territories to sustain themselves. Having large home ranges and only limited suitable habitat means that far fewer leopards can fit into an area, resulting in low population densities.

Leopards are now protected but they still face several serious threats – notably, habitat loss and fragmentation due to urban- and agricultural-development; direct persecution in retaliation to livestock losses; and a reduction in their prey base as a result of snaring and bushmeat poaching.

Other threats include too frequent large-scale veld fires, roads and traffic and rodent poisons.

Ordinary people can all help to alleviate these threats in the following ways:

  • While enjoying time out in nature, be on the lookout for illegal wire snares. Cut and disarm these snares and report them to us. Also report any other suspicious activity like other types of traps and feral dogs.
  • Members of conservancies, hiking clubs, MTB clubs, neighbourhood watches etc., can make concerted efforts to gather regularly for snare patrols on private properties (following due process with permission from the owner/manager), similar to community-driven alien clearing hacks.
  • Drive slowly and carefully through mountainous areas to avoid hitting and injuring/killing wild animals, including leopards and their prey.
  • Farmers can adopt holistic livestock husbandry practices to avoid conflict with leopards.
  • Property owners can refrain from hunting/killing agricultural or garden ‘pests’ like porcupine, grysbok, duiker and hyrax, as these are leopards’ main prey.”

Outside of supporting the Cape Leopard Trust's different initiatives and its partners, like Leopard's Leap – what, in your view, can the public do to aid, give back to or simply help create awareness for leopards, especially the leopards of the Cape. Not just on International Leopard Day – but also outside of this annual celebration/awareness cause?

“Being a non-profit NGO, the CLT entirely relies on corporate- and private-funding, scientific grants and sponsorships to do all our work. Donations, no matter how big or small, are welcome. Donations made to the CLT (as a registered Public Benefit Organisation) by companies or individuals are tax deductible and qualify for a Section 18A tax certificate.

Donate at: bit.ly/CLTGivenGain.

The Cape Leopard Trust maintains a comprehensive database of all leopard presence points in the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape. We rely on ordinary people – citizen scientists – to help us develop this database and make it as complete as possible. We call on everyone to submit their leopard records – be it tracks, droppings, scratch marks on trees or physical sightings – to our online data portal. Here you can also report snares and other threats.

Go to: https://app.capeleopard.org.za/.

  • Follow the Cape Leopard Trust website; sign up for our newsletter; or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube for regular updates.
  • Spread awareness of the CLT and the need to protect leopard habitat and prey to ensure their continued survival.
  • Support our online shop: buy and proudly wear our CLT merchandise; buy our glossy coffee table book or our educational children’s book; our virtual products and much more!”

One small, yet key thing we have learnt from you is to rather avoid labelling these leopards as 'Cape leopards' or 'Cape mountain leopards', two generalised phrases otherwise often heard/used when people reference leopards in the Cape. 

Could you please share a bit more about what this means?

“We simply prefer to not use these terms, as they create too much confusion. Currently, all leopards in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape are the same sub-species as the ones found elsewhere in Africa – they’re all Panthera pardus pardus.

Although, geographically, leopards in the Cape mountains are fairly restricted from other populations in SA and have some unique morphological-, ecological- and genetic-characteristics, it is not enough to classify them as a sub-species.

To avoid confusion, we therefore rather refer to this population as ‘leopards of the Cape’ or ‘leopards of the fynbos’, as ‘Cape leopard’ sounds like a different kind of leopard, which it isn’t.”

The Cape Leopard Trust does incredible work every day, even just through their online presence on social platforms, like Facebook or Instagram.

You guys share remarkable stories about leopards and frequently post amazing camera sightings and other informative news to your followers.

Has this online presence helped spread the word or promote a heightened understanding around these beautiful creatures – or is there still so much work to be done in a virtual space? And how can everyday social media users in South Africa (and beyond) play their part in furthering this educational cause online?

This is an interesting question! Along with our physical outreach, like public presentations, environmental education and content in print and broadcast media, our online presence has doubtlessly helped a great deal in raising the profile of the CLT and leopards at the Cape.

However, our accounts are still comparatively small and our following is mostly based in South Africa. We would love to increase our footprint and reach many more interested supporters, especially abroad!

Gaining traction and growing on social media is a real challenge for most local NGOs, as they don’t have big advertising budgets to pay for boosted posts.

One way to get around that is for supporters to follow the CLT accounts and mark them as favourites or high priority – so that the social media algorithms learn that this is the content you want to see!

Also, share and engage with our posts by liking them and commenting; these actions signal to the algorithm that our content is of good quality and it gets shown to more people.”

Recently, in March 2023, along with six other top, global conservation organisations (as well as a slew of international leopard experts) – the CLT held an exciting five-day virtual gathering: the inaugural Global Leopard Conference.

Could you please share some feedback on the success of this virtual conference? And can we expect another conference of this nature – perhaps even as soon as 2024?

“The first Global Leopard Conference (GLC) was a hugely successful, insightful week of sharing, learning and connecting among researchers and conservationists working across the leopard’s range. It provided a platform to learn leopard lessons from many countries and to promote collaborative solutions to ensure the continued survival of this important species.

It was attended by more than 300 delegates from more than 55 countries and the feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. There will be another GLC, possibly in another two- or three-years’ time.

Despite being a well-known and charismatic species, the conference presentations and discussion groups overwhelmingly indicated that leopards worldwide are still greatly in need of awareness raising, support and investment.

As a lasting legacy of the Global Leopard Conference, International Leopard Day was officialised and endorsed to give it a permanent, meaningful place on the global wildlife calendar and to promote and celebrate leopards worldwide.

For the first time, International Leopard Day now has an official website and logo. We encourage everyone to have a look at the site and celebrate this day with us!”

Working Together through Pardus Wine and Other Initiatives to Preserve This Elusive Wild Cat for Future Generations

2021 Leopard's Leap Pardus

By supporting and helping to fund the CLT’s vital work, sponsors like Leopard’s Leap are helping make a positive impact in our Cape environment. Not just for the leopards of the Cape/fynbos but for other animal species too. How integral are the conservation efforts and/or funding of these CLT sponsors?

And if possible, can you perhaps please share a bit more about the Leopard’s Leap involvement and support over the years? (Which, throughout its long-standing support for CLT, has included everything from the Pardus wine blend to sponsorships and other conservation initiatives.)

The Cape Leopard Trust is fortunate to receive support from several varied funders and sponsors. Among them are several wine farms – many of which have mountain land and actually have leopards moving through their properties.

Many of these estates have bought their own camera traps and are contributing leopard photos to our database.

Carefully managing this mountain habitat in private ownership is obviously important for conservation – not only for leopards but all their prey species and other animals that share this space.

Leopard’s Leap has been a loyal supporter of the CLT for many years.

This support comes in several forms, including monetary donations, sponsorship of wine for many of our CLT events, making their wonderful venue available for CLT gatherings and fundraising events and sharing CLT content to their social media channels.

In 2021, they also launched a beautiful red blend named Pardus, which pays homage to the undisputed kings of the Cape mountains – Panthera pardus, the leopard.

We are incredibly grateful to Leopard’s Leap for all these years! Long-standing support like this is what has enabled the CLT to grow into the organisation it is today!”

In Closing

Hein and Helen Turnbull, CEO of the Cape Leopard Trust with Pardus

This framed photo was a special gift given to Hein by Helen Turnbull, CEO of the Cape Leopard Trust. Pictured in the framed photo is BM38, also known as Pardus, who was named in honour of the Leopard’s Leap wine blend. He was photographed in the Wemmershoek valley, in the mountains north of the estate.

Both wildlife conservation and winemaking require their own forms of immense patience, passion and dedication.

This is something that, through their shared initiatives and encounters with nature, Leopard’s Leap and the Cape Leopard Trust experience first-hand. It is this understanding and passion that unites these two local forces and which has allowed winemaking and nature conservation to meet in a powerful, emotive way.

Along with the Cape Leopard Trust – Leopard’s Leap understands that it is the small, everyday acts that yield the greatest results. For a vulnerable species, for a season – or even for a future generation.

And we celebrate International Leopard Day (hopefully with a glass of Pardus at the ready), it is something we should all be especially mindful of.

 

 

Article for Leopard's Leap by Tamlyn Ryan

In South Africa, leopards form part of our world-famous Big 5. These gorgeous spotted wild cats are found in natural habitats and game reserves across our diverse country, roaming the mountains, bushveld and savannas of our beautiful land with stealth, skill and no small amount of elegance.

Yet, like so many of our earth’s precious wildlife, these secretive, secluded big cats are sadly under threat from encroaching human development, conflict with livestock owners and poaching.

This is why organisations like The Cape Leopard Trust and its partners – as well as other vital conservation organisations across Africa and the globe – are so integral to the protection and preservation of these solitary hunters.

With this goal firmly in mind, 3 May is now officially recognised and celebrated as International Leopard Day.

Doing Our Bit This International Leopard Day

However, it is not just local conservation experts and not-for-profit organisations that must do their bit to protect and preserve both the natural habitats and safety of these elusive big cats.

Indeed, the responsibility falls to each of us to do our bit to aid wildlife conservation; create awareness around threatened or vulnerable animal species for ourselves and others; and give back to worthy causes and conservation efforts in whatever way, shape or form we can.

As we dwell or explore habitats where these secretive wild cats still roam, we are called to be mindful as citizens, hikers, MTB enthusiasts, landowners, travellers and drivers.

Leopard’s Leap: Where Winemaking and the Leopards Matter

Leopard's Leap Family Vineyards in Franschhoek

Conceptualised by winemaker, businessman and CEO of Leopard’s Leap, Hein Koegelenberg, at the turn of the century – Leopard’s Leap has become a household name, famous not just for its incredible wines, great food and family-friendly atmosphere in Franschhoek – but also for its innovation, responsible farming and admiration for the local nature and landscapes that so powerfully inspire both its winemaking process and its wines.

For this esteemed estate, the choice to actively support and fund the protection and conservation of the leopards of the Cape has always been a straightforward one. One example of this is how Leopard’s Leap helps sponsor some of the Cape Leopard Trust’s important conservation initiatives.

Leopard’s Leap invites guests and wine lovers to enjoy not only their amazing wines, which include a very special Pardus red wine blend, but also to share in its “passion for food, literature and conservation”.

Pardus and Preserving the King of the Cape Mountains

Leopard's Leap CEO Hein Koegelenberg and Winemaker Renier van Deventer with a bottle of Pardus.

Pardus, a special red blend by Hein Koegelenberg, is inspired by the King of the Cape Mountains. (Click here for Hein's introduction of Pardus)

Pardus is Latin for panther or leopard, so it is a fitting name for a wine blend so closely entwined with protecting national wildlife treasures, like the leopards of the Cape.

This popular red wine recognises not just the intense charisma, gentle approachability and feline elegance of these wild cats – it also honours the Cape’s natural beauty and rich biodiversity.

(Click here to read more or to shop for Pardus, the wine)

How the Cape Leopard Trust and Leopard’s Leap Work Together

Since its inception in 2004, for nearly twenty years now, the Cape Leopard Trust (CLT) – a registered, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation based in the Western Cape – has served as a relatively unsung local conservation hero.

Today, they are a leading authority on predator conservation in South Africa, with a particular, important focus on leopards as their flagship species.

The CLT diligently works to understand leopards; drive meaningful conservation actions; create public awareness; and above all, promote a peaceable co-existence between these majestic leopards and humans.

CLT has a key three-pillar approach -– research, conservation and education -– that ensures their work has broad application and impact, with an emphasis on collaboration between local communities, private landowners and partner organisations.

To highlight the importance of International Leopard Day (3 May) and to shed some light on the vulnerability and daily plight of the leopards of the Cape, we spoke to Jeannie Hayward, the Communications and Media Manager at the Cape Leopard Trust.

With an impressive background in and passion for wildlife research, educational public awareness and informed nature conservation, Jeannie has become a powerful representative and spokesperson for the Cape Leopard Trust.

Both she and the Cape Leopard Trust are striving hard to raise the profile of the Cape’s elusive, vulnerable leopards:

Jeannie, firstly, thank you for carving some time out of your day to chat to us. Could you please begin by sharing some insights into the Cape Leopard Trust and your role within the organisation?

“The Cape Leopard Trust is a small but dynamic organisation with a big vision – to ensure that leopards continue to survive and thrive in the Cape region.

We consist of a core team of dedicated, passionate permanent staff, along with post-graduate students, field verification officers and conservation champion farmers.

We work on a multitude of different initiatives that all fall under the banners of scientific- and social-research, applied conservation and environmental education and outreach.

We are guided by a Board of Trustees; advised by a Scientific Advisory Board; and supported by several brand ambassadors.

I joined the CLT in 2010 as a field researcher and project coordinator for a leopard study based in the Boland Mountain Chain. I started gravitating towards science communication – and in 2020, I became the Communications and Media Manager for the CLT.

While I am still involved with research and conservation activities, my first priority is to ensure that our research and educational content, as well as our conservation message, is disseminated to a wide public audience.”

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is globally listed as 'Vulnerable' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Additionally, active research and field studies show that leopards in the Cape regions (that is, South Africa's Western, Eastern and Northern Cape) occur at far lower densities than those in South Africa's savanna or bushveld habitats.

What makes the leopards of the Cape/fynbos so vulnerable or few(er) in number? And what can South Africans do to help alleviate the threats they face?

“The leopard is the last large predator and last member of the Big 5 to still roam free in the Western Cape.

Historically, they were classified as ‘vermin’ and people were actually paid to shoot leopards. This continued unabated for more than 300 years, but, despite this intense pressure on the population, leopards have managed to persist, finding refuge in the rugged mountain ranges of the Cape provinces.

Leopards here utilise huge home ranges. Leopard prey in the Cape mountains is smaller, occurs at much lower densities and in much more rugged terrain compared to the Savanna.

Leopards therefore need large territories to sustain themselves. Having large home ranges and only limited suitable habitat means that far fewer leopards can fit into an area, resulting in low population densities.

Leopards are now protected but they still face several serious threats – notably, habitat loss and fragmentation due to urban- and agricultural-development; direct persecution in retaliation to livestock losses; and a reduction in their prey base as a result of snaring and bushmeat poaching.

Other threats include too frequent large-scale veld fires, roads and traffic and rodent poisons.

Ordinary people can all help to alleviate these threats in the following ways:

  • While enjoying time out in nature, be on the lookout for illegal wire snares. Cut and disarm these snares and report them to us. Also report any other suspicious activity like other types of traps and feral dogs.
  • Members of conservancies, hiking clubs, MTB clubs, neighbourhood watches etc., can make concerted efforts to gather regularly for snare patrols on private properties (following due process with permission from the owner/manager), similar to community-driven alien clearing hacks.
  • Drive slowly and carefully through mountainous areas to avoid hitting and injuring/killing wild animals, including leopards and their prey.
  • Farmers can adopt holistic livestock husbandry practices to avoid conflict with leopards.
  • Property owners can refrain from hunting/killing agricultural or garden ‘pests’ like porcupine, grysbok, duiker and hyrax, as these are leopards’ main prey.”

Outside of supporting the Cape Leopard Trust's different initiatives and its partners, like Leopard's Leap – what, in your view, can the public do to aid, give back to or simply help create awareness for leopards, especially the leopards of the Cape. Not just on International Leopard Day – but also outside of this annual celebration/awareness cause?

“Being a non-profit NGO, the CLT entirely relies on corporate- and private-funding, scientific grants and sponsorships to do all our work. Donations, no matter how big or small, are welcome. Donations made to the CLT (as a registered Public Benefit Organisation) by companies or individuals are tax deductible and qualify for a Section 18A tax certificate.

Donate at: bit.ly/CLTGivenGain.

The Cape Leopard Trust maintains a comprehensive database of all leopard presence points in the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape. We rely on ordinary people – citizen scientists – to help us develop this database and make it as complete as possible. We call on everyone to submit their leopard records – be it tracks, droppings, scratch marks on trees or physical sightings – to our online data portal. Here you can also report snares and other threats.

Go to: https://app.capeleopard.org.za/.

  • Follow the Cape Leopard Trust website; sign up for our newsletter; or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube for regular updates.
  • Spread awareness of the CLT and the need to protect leopard habitat and prey to ensure their continued survival.
  • Support our online shop: buy and proudly wear our CLT merchandise; buy our glossy coffee table book or our educational children’s book; our virtual products and much more!”

One small, yet key thing we have learnt from you is to rather avoid labelling these leopards as 'Cape leopards' or 'Cape mountain leopards', two generalised phrases otherwise often heard/used when people reference leopards in the Cape. 

Could you please share a bit more about what this means?

“We simply prefer to not use these terms, as they create too much confusion. Currently, all leopards in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape are the same sub-species as the ones found elsewhere in Africa – they’re all Panthera pardus pardus.

Although, geographically, leopards in the Cape mountains are fairly restricted from other populations in SA and have some unique morphological-, ecological- and genetic-characteristics, it is not enough to classify them as a sub-species.

To avoid confusion, we therefore rather refer to this population as ‘leopards of the Cape’ or ‘leopards of the fynbos’, as ‘Cape leopard’ sounds like a different kind of leopard, which it isn’t.”

The Cape Leopard Trust does incredible work every day, even just through their online presence on social platforms, like Facebook or Instagram.

You guys share remarkable stories about leopards and frequently post amazing camera sightings and other informative news to your followers.

Has this online presence helped spread the word or promote a heightened understanding around these beautiful creatures – or is there still so much work to be done in a virtual space? And how can everyday social media users in South Africa (and beyond) play their part in furthering this educational cause online?

This is an interesting question! Along with our physical outreach, like public presentations, environmental education and content in print and broadcast media, our online presence has doubtlessly helped a great deal in raising the profile of the CLT and leopards at the Cape.

However, our accounts are still comparatively small and our following is mostly based in South Africa. We would love to increase our footprint and reach many more interested supporters, especially abroad!

Gaining traction and growing on social media is a real challenge for most local NGOs, as they don’t have big advertising budgets to pay for boosted posts.

One way to get around that is for supporters to follow the CLT accounts and mark them as favourites or high priority – so that the social media algorithms learn that this is the content you want to see!

Also, share and engage with our posts by liking them and commenting; these actions signal to the algorithm that our content is of good quality and it gets shown to more people.”

Recently, in March 2023, along with six other top, global conservation organisations (as well as a slew of international leopard experts) – the CLT held an exciting five-day virtual gathering: the inaugural Global Leopard Conference.

Could you please share some feedback on the success of this virtual conference? And can we expect another conference of this nature – perhaps even as soon as 2024?

“The first Global Leopard Conference (GLC) was a hugely successful, insightful week of sharing, learning and connecting among researchers and conservationists working across the leopard’s range. It provided a platform to learn leopard lessons from many countries and to promote collaborative solutions to ensure the continued survival of this important species.

It was attended by more than 300 delegates from more than 55 countries and the feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. There will be another GLC, possibly in another two- or three-years’ time.

Despite being a well-known and charismatic species, the conference presentations and discussion groups overwhelmingly indicated that leopards worldwide are still greatly in need of awareness raising, support and investment.

As a lasting legacy of the Global Leopard Conference, International Leopard Day was officialised and endorsed to give it a permanent, meaningful place on the global wildlife calendar and to promote and celebrate leopards worldwide.

For the first time, International Leopard Day now has an official website and logo. We encourage everyone to have a look at the site and celebrate this day with us!”

Working Together through Pardus Wine and Other Initiatives to Preserve This Elusive Wild Cat for Future Generations

2021 Leopard's Leap Pardus

By supporting and helping to fund the CLT’s vital work, sponsors like Leopard’s Leap are helping make a positive impact in our Cape environment. Not just for the leopards of the Cape/fynbos but for other animal species too. How integral are the conservation efforts and/or funding of these CLT sponsors?

And if possible, can you perhaps please share a bit more about the Leopard’s Leap involvement and support over the years? (Which, throughout its long-standing support for CLT, has included everything from the Pardus wine blend to sponsorships and other conservation initiatives.)

The Cape Leopard Trust is fortunate to receive support from several varied funders and sponsors. Among them are several wine farms – many of which have mountain land and actually have leopards moving through their properties.

Many of these estates have bought their own camera traps and are contributing leopard photos to our database.

Carefully managing this mountain habitat in private ownership is obviously important for conservation – not only for leopards but all their prey species and other animals that share this space.

Leopard’s Leap has been a loyal supporter of the CLT for many years.

This support comes in several forms, including monetary donations, sponsorship of wine for many of our CLT events, making their wonderful venue available for CLT gatherings and fundraising events and sharing CLT content to their social media channels.

In 2021, they also launched a beautiful red blend named Pardus, which pays homage to the undisputed kings of the Cape mountains – Panthera pardus, the leopard.

We are incredibly grateful to Leopard’s Leap for all these years! Long-standing support like this is what has enabled the CLT to grow into the organisation it is today!”

In Closing

Hein and Helen Turnbull, CEO of the Cape Leopard Trust with Pardus

This framed photo was a special gift given to Hein by Helen Turnbull, CEO of the Cape Leopard Trust. Pictured in the framed photo is BM38, also known as Pardus, who was named in honour of the Leopard’s Leap wine blend. He was photographed in the Wemmershoek valley, in the mountains north of the estate.

Both wildlife conservation and winemaking require their own forms of immense patience, passion and dedication.

This is something that, through their shared initiatives and encounters with nature, Leopard’s Leap and the Cape Leopard Trust experience first-hand. It is this understanding and passion that unites these two local forces and which has allowed winemaking and nature conservation to meet in a powerful, emotive way.

Along with the Cape Leopard Trust – Leopard’s Leap understands that it is the small, everyday acts that yield the greatest results. For a vulnerable species, for a season – or even for a future generation.

And we celebrate International Leopard Day (hopefully with a glass of Pardus at the ready), it is something we should all be especially mindful of.

 

 

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