This series of photographs in Avondale’s Camera! Lights! Biodiversity in Action project is the best we have managed to capture so far of a Leopard on our land. Taken on the 22nd of September just before midnight, the images were made just one second apart by the motion-sensitive Reconyx Hyperfire camera that my father sets up in various locations on the farm. The leopard, Panthera pardus is the smallest of the four big cats in the Panthera genus, the others being Lion, Tiger and Jaguar. Once widely distributed and plentiful through its ranges in Africa and Asia, the wild Leopard now survives in just a few places due to hunting and habitat loss. We feel privileged to know that Avondale is providing a safe and bountiful haven for this beautiful creature. You may notice that this Leopard is wearing a tracking collar. We think it might be a male that was recently tagged in the Wemmershoek Dam area, and we are in the process of finding out more about it from nature conservation officials. The Leopard is famous for its stealth and its adaptability. It was once able to live in the most diverse habitats, from rainforest to desert. Of all the big cats, the Leopard is the greatest climber. It is even able to climb trees carrying its prey in its jaws. Although better known for its opportunistic, ambush-style hunting techniques, the Leopard is able to run at speeds of up to 58 kilometres per hour. The presence of a top predator such as Leopard on the Avondale farm is a fantastic indicator of the health of our eco-system.
As family man… Avondale is a family farm where we appreciate that the health and balance of our living system is inextricably linked to well-being of our families. As a father of two and a husband, as son and brother, my inspiration to achieve a robust, balanced vineyard ecosystem is to ensure that Avondale will support the lives of our future generations.
As artist… A passion for jazz and a love for all forms of art, especially woodwork and sculpture led me into four years of fine art studies – an eclectic education for a budding a farmer, for sure! However, I have found that in so many ways, the patterns, interconnections and openness of the artistic worldview have influenced my understanding of how living systems work.
As farmer… My interest in farming started early when I was a boy growing up on a small-holding outside of Durbanville. I planted and tended my own vegetables which I sold to family and friends. I hardly imagined at that time though that I would one day become a farmer. However, the theme of a healthy balanced life was embedded in our family’s outlook.