The Landmark Foundations' area of focus makes up 42000km² of the Eastern
and Western Cape. The Robertson corridor project in the Rooiberg Breede
River Conservancy is a branch of the research area focusing on the
corridor linking the Overberg and Riversonderend Mountains and the
mountain ranges between De Doorns and Montagu.
This area has been
identified as an important conservation site as it forms a natural
corridor for leopards and other wild species to link to one another.
Leopards have not been studied in this area of the Conservancy as their population density is unknown. There are a number of major threats this population is faced with. The loss of habitat due to human development, intentional or accidental killing of individuals due to snares and gin-traps, and the isolation and potential inbreeding of this small population are real threats to this populations' survival.
The Landmark Foundation's work in the area aims to address these threats. By working with landowners within the Conservancy the research will assist in the management of the remaining leopard population with relation to its habitat and give us insight as to how vulnerable this species is and find solutions to these problems in the area.
Leopards are extremely shy, so getting data on them is difficult. To overcome this, The Landmark Foundation use camera traps which photograph animals as they move past a camera. Because leopards have unique fur patterns, once they are captured,individuals can be identified over time and across the survey area. This enables the Landmark Foundation to understand their territories and population densities.
The camera trap survey was initiated in May 2012 within the Rooiberg Breede River Conservancy and 30 cameras (of which 15 were kindly donated by landowners) were placed in a grid form across landscape for the first phase of the study area.These survey phases remain at one place for a period of 3 to 6 months before moving the camera station to a new location. It is envisaged that the survey will be completed over three phases. Merely a month into the project, the results from the cameras were astonishing. Sixteen (16) cameras captured leopard. Five individual leopards across the survey site were identified.
Other footage of species also captured in the area was: honey badgers, African wildcat, porcupines, genets, mongooses as well as antelope species such as grysbok and bushbuck. On a few of the stations beautiful images of caracals were picked up.
The Rooiberg Breede Rivier Conservancy area has proven very active in terms of wildlife with a good diversity of species present on the farms.
Click here to view the photo album.