The Cape Leopard Trust (CLT) was established with a primary objective to facilitate and promote research and conservation of the Cape's predator diversity. The conservation strategies include several bio-geographical research projects on leopards and their habitat as well as providing advisory and support services relating to farmer-predator interactions.
A key goal of the project is to foster a greater understanding and awareness of the environment, particularly in children as future custodians of nature. The Cape Leopard Trust was launched in 2004 as an active predator conservation organisation in the Cape and is a registered Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). The focus of the organisation revolves around adopting the Cape Leopard as a 'flagship species', to study, understand and highlight the plight of these animals, and other threatened predators, finding effective and sustainable ways to alleviate the devastating problems of human-wildlife conflict as well as advocating for the protection of the biodiversity upon which they depend.
Dr Quinton Martins, co-founder of the project, completed his PHD on the ecology of Cape leopards, through the University of Bristol. Though evidence indicates that Cape leopards differ from leopards elsewhere, whether they are a a separate sub-species is thought unlikely. The CLT uses the results of robust scientific research to convince farmers to change their behaviour and attitudes towards 'problem animals' and to use more ethical livestock management techniques. The focus of the Trust's research concentrated initially on the Cederberg Mountains, but it now has active research projects in Namaqualand, Gouritz Corridor, the Boland Mountains and the Table Mountain National Park.
The environmental education component of the project began in 2009 with the launch of 'Tok-Tokkie' camp at the Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve, offering residential camps for children and young adults in the Cederberg. The Education and Outreach Programme, provides experiential and meaningful environmental education programmes, teaching the youth about the wilderness and themselves, helping them to discover their connection with nature. The education programme includes environmental school and family group camps in the Cederberg; environmental appreciation/education excursions with children from local farm schools; and school presentations on the Cape Leopard as well as other wildlife of the Western Cape. In 2014 a Cape Town programme was launched, offering wilderness experiences in and around the city allowing the Trust to reach broader communities and social groups. Our education work includes forming positive partnerships with social development NGO’s to improve environmental knowledge.
The Cape Leopard Trust head office is based in Cape Town, and works in partnership with the Cederberg Conservancy and CapeNature in ongoing efforts to conserve our natural heritage.