Bucklands is a private sheep and game farm in the Eastern Cape Province of the Republic of South Africa.
The farm is just over 5 000 ha of which about 1 200 ha is pristine, mountainous wilderness. In this wilderness area the Cape Mountain Leopard is the last large cat species that survives in the wild and is on the brink of extinction.
We are desperately trying to save these cats from extinction by running a programme in co-operation with the well- known Landmark Foundation. The Project monitors the movement of leopards and other species in their hunting area by collaring leopards and collecting data from trail cameras. Leopards for instance are nocturnal, solitary and occupy and defend large territories. Fences have never stopped a leopard from crossing borders and therefore it is important to familiarise oneself with its movements. If a leopard ends up on a neighbour’s sheep farm we want to know about it before it gets injured in any way.
The biggest difference between the programme on Bucklands and other projects of its kind is that ours is done in the last remaining natural habitat of the leopards, and not on a game reserve where the cats are fenced in and protected. Our job is to try and protect these animals in a very hostile environment where farmers have to protect their livestock against predators, often resulting in fatal consequences for the large cats.
Less than 20% of South African landscapes are formally protected, this is not enough to ensure any species’ existence, therefore conservation on private land is also needed.
The Cape lion became extinct in 1858 and the brown hyena and cheetah disappeared from most of the area in the 1900s. Due to their elusive nature and adaptability, leopards still fight for survival today. They have managed to remain in inhospitable and mountainous regions. As habitat diminishes and agriculture and game farming practices keep lethal controls in play, they, along with many other species, have little hope of survival and will soon face the same fate as the long extinct Cape lion. Private landowners like us are playing a vital role in conserving these animals.
So, we do what we can, but we desperately need volunteers to help us fight this war. We offer a safe, unique bush experience you will never forget. Join us on Bucklands for an experience of a lifetime.