Tag Archives: Leopard

Leopard tracking in the Swartberg

Objective of the flight:

The tracking and downloading of GPS data collared leopards in the eastern part of Swartberg between De Rust and Willowmore in the Eastern Cape. This information will contribute to our understanding of leopard population densities and identify suitable habitat corridors which could be linking potentially isolated populations.

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Leopard Tracking in the Swartberg

Objective of the flight

To track and download data from collared leopards in the Swartberg range of the Western Cape.

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Our Agenda

The Bateleurs came into being in 1998 as a result of a flight over the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park by South African conservationist, Nora Kreher.  Nora was inspired by seeing the added benefits which an aerial perspective can bring to any  stakeholder charged with making critical environmental decisions.  Gathering together her many pilot contacts, Nora founded The Bateleurs in order to fly missions for conservation and the environment.  Today the organisation comprises approximately 130 volunteer pilot members, each with their own light aircraft, all of whom are dedicated to preserving the environment. This is achieved by flying missions at the request of a broad range of beneficiary organisations or individuals who need an aerial perspective of the issue they are assessing or addressing.

The Bateleurs is one of the largest environmental, flying, not-for-profit organisations in Africa.

With so much beauty surrounding Southern Africa, the environmental degradation happening in our region is shocking.  Nowhere is this more clearly visible than from the air.

The Bateleurs, a non-profit, Section 21 organisation, with over 130 volunteer pilots and aircraft, offers its beneficiaries, donors and the public the opportunity to view the environment from another perspective – an aerial perspective.  In the past ten years the organisation has co-ordinated hundreds of missions, throughout ten different countries, in support of environmental issues.

In terms of strategic context, The Bateleurs’ mission is well-aligned with the United Nations Millenium Goals;  ensuring environmental sustainability and assisting with the integration of the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes.  The Bateleurs missions are far-reaching in terms of raising public awareness through various media channels, and through providing decision-makers with a range of different aerial perspectives.

By assisting more than 120 beneficiary organisations, including wildlife conservation bodies, government decision-making bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and many others dedicated to conservation, The Bateleurs provides decision-makers, researchers, educators, NGOs and the media with information which assists them to make sound environmental decisions.

60% of our missions are for non-profit organisations;  15% are for government and policy-makers;  15% are for media and journalists;  and the remaining 10% are for education, youth and disadvantaged communities. There is no charge to any of these organisations for the environmental missions flown for them by The Bateleurs.

Our missions include identifying illegal mining, roads and housing the Wild Coast, tracking cheetah, wild dog, leopard or elephant in various conservation areas, counting dugong, the giant sable or other rare species, and often assisting groups with aerial surveys that save their personnel hours or even days on the ground.  A rigorous process is in place to review and approve (or not) all flight requests, to monitor missions, and to track all The Bateleurs’ activities.

This increasingly important conservation resource requires funds to remain active.  Since 1998 The Bateleurs has raised more than R2.7 million from corporates, donors, trust funds and philanthropists, not including donations-in-kind. The Bateleurs pilot members and their aircraft provide the equivalent of 70% of the annual budget, and the balance is sourced through fundraising activities.  Our existing management structure is efficient and streamlined, with a highly motivated and passionate Board of Trustees, a growing number of volunteer pilot members, and a salaried staff of one.

We invite all individuals, organisations and donors to partner with The Bateleurs in its ‘flying for the environment in Africa’.

Leopard Tracking in the Cedarberg


Mission: Tracking a Leopard with a Problem
Date: 28 January and 27 Febuary 2008
Requesting organisation: Cape Leopard Trust
Location: Cedarberg Mountains, Western Cape
Pilot: Johan Ferreira

Between January and March The Bateleurs have flown two monitoring missions for the Cape Leopard Trust.  Quinton Martins sent a short report to say that he and pilot Johan Ferreira had flown to track the movement of collared leopard in the Cedarberg mountains of the Western Cape, at the end of January, and again at the end of February 2008.

In particular they were trying to locate leopard F6 with whom there appeared to be a problem.  Quinton wrote:

“The signal is coming from the same place all the time – we are searching the area on foot now that we have identified a 300m x 100m area where either she or the collar have been for some time. We had a great flight, as per usual – really stunning. I will let you know as soon as we have information on the whereabouts of F6.”

Since then we have received the above photograph of a beautiful male leopard rescued from a gin-trap in the Hantam Mountains of the Northern Cape.  Having been located, darted and “stretchered” off the mountain, the 49 kg leopard was examined by veterinary surgeon, Dr Andre van der Merwe, who declared that he was absolutely fine.  Luckily the gin-trap used was small and had done no damage to the leopard other than some local swelling to his left front paw, where the trap had taken hold.  The animal was measured, tissue samples were taken and he was re-released later the same day.  Rescuers included Jaco van Deventer of Cape Nature, on the left in the photo, and Quinton Martins, on the right, who had worked with a team of CLT staff and workers on the farm where this dramatic rescue took place.