In the Heart of the “Valley of Baboons”

Camera Trap Update
16th January 2017
Leopards on the Streets of London
11th March 2017

W e took a trip through the whole Baviaanskloof and were delighted that various initiatives to take pressure off livestock farming (sheep farmers are notoriously cruel to leopard) were blossoming. For example, on the valley floor, a couple of farmers have been supported in cultivating rosemary and lavender for essential oils, a creative enterprise in the Baviaans. It is hoped that using just 1% of their land in this way can generate income to replace extensive stock farming entirely. Finding a solution like this clearly protects the veld (previously degraded by goats and sheep) and provides an environment-friendly and leopard-friendly way of sustaining likelihoods in the Baviaanskloof.

Whilst the rosemary and lavender crops had suffered from bug pests, it was a pleasure to see these plants growing and to see blesbok and blue cranes enjoying these fields too. Unfortunately, the Aloe ferox in the Kloof had suffered from the drought and was too dry for harvesting. Leopard Friendly Aloe Gel is one of our products in development.

Here is the Baviaanskloof rosemary, adorning Karoo lamb on the braai – a powerful combination!

On our travels, we caught up with Pieter Kruger, a local farmer and local champion for Baviaanskloof and Cape leopard conservation. He has been restoring the veld by planting spekboom (especially useful in binding the soil and reducing run-off): over the last three and a half years he and 170 volunteers have planted 4 million plants! The spreading “canopy” of these shrubs is a striking achievement. As he put it: “We’re trying to grow a forest here”.