I Need Help!

Justin Bonello_Leopard

I’m doing my very best to document and raise awareness about the very serious situation that threatens the survival of the last remaining populations of leopard in the Cape Fold Mountain Belt, but it’s reached the point where I need to call on the public for help and support.

This story is so vast and in order to do it justice, I need the help of as many people as possible. There are three main areas that I really need your help with. Firstly, if anyone has any footage of leopards in the Cape Fold Mountains, whether it’s footage from a camera trap, your personal camera or even your cell phone, please let us know if we could use it for our cause. Secondly, if anyone has any experience of an encounter or a sighting of a leopard close to where you live, please let me know because a big part of this story is how close these animals are to the urban fringes of our town and cities. If you have any information I would very much like to hear it and possibly arrange an interview to form part of the show. And lastly, we really need camera traps – it’s the only way to get footage of these elusive creatures, and we’re hoping to put up thousands of these traps all around South Africa over the next couple of years, not only to capture footage of leopards, but to document the unseen behaviors of all the animals that make this country such an ecologically diverse nation.  If you know of a sponsor or have a connection that could help us, please let me know. Better yet, if you want to buy a camera trap and let us use it, we will name it after you, send you all the footage and all the updates, and you will become part of this vitally important project. Every little bit helps and you can send all your details and information to leopard@cookedinafrica.co.za.

The cost of the camera traps vary from about R2500 right up to R7000. We’ve tested, purchased and are currently using a number of them – the Acorn 5321a is the cheapest one (roughly R2500) with the best video quality we could find, but the best ones that we’ve found so far is the Bushnell Trophy Cam 1080p model (R7000) which shoots HD video both day and night with really good images. I’ve also arranged with the Landmark Foundation to purchase the cameras – so funds go to them, and they give a 100% tax deductible certificate back – that way, over the course of the project, I’m increasing the science and research of what’s actually happening and share data with them, and when I’m finished with the project, they would continue to use the cameras to further our understanding of our natural world and rural South African spaces.

These leopards are being wiped out and I can guarantee you this: if we don’t change the way that we exist with wild nature, we will lose these animals and our children will never get to experience them firsthand. It is my responsibility to give a voice to the voiceless but I need your help to do it.


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