Editor's note

We have two new exciting species writers as well some guest writers in this bumper edition which includes some great giveaways!

We start with an interview article which has been brewing for sometime! Steve Woodhall is not only our very own Eco-impi warrior but a national treasure as well. His passion for Lepidoptera knows no bounds and it is difficult to listen to Steve without being completely enthused with interest and fascination for the species which he has devoted a large part of his life exploring and describing for us ‘amateurs’. As a member of the Kloof Conservancy, Steve has always been there for us and supported our activities with great enthusiasm. I can only hope that the article does justice to his enormous contribution.

Arend Hoogervorst’s mandate is to prick our conscience and keep us on our toes when it comes to our own role in protecting the environment and he asks those awkward questions that sometimes need to be asked! In this edition he raises the issue of decision making at the highest level and the potential consequences particularly with the decisions relating to mining.

Historian Robin Lamplough always provides us with great insights to the past and the link between early explorers and the nature as we know it today. In this edition he highlights the work of William Cornwallis Harris best known for his paintings of the majestic Sable antelope.

Dr Marlies Craig is an epidemiologist who has developed a passion for the insects she had to study as an integral part of her work and she now delivers talks and workshops with great passion on the vast range of insects to be found on this planet. We are very excited to introduce her as a new writer on our species panel and her first task has been to write for us on how insects use colour in their daily lives.

Our regular species writers, Peter Spence (birds), Pat McKrill (reptiles) and Steve Woodhall (butterflies) were also given the same mandate to describe how their species manipulate colour to their advantage. It makes for fascinating reading!

With this edition we start a new project with an exciting young writer in Kerileigh Lobban, a qualified zoologist with a passion for everything in nature. Keri joins our regular writing team in an innovative partnership with well know “plant nutter” Rod Edwards. Keri will write for us on the Flora of Krantzkloof and more specifically the interaction between flora and fauna and will describe some of the relatively common and some of the rarer species to be found in Krantzkloof Nature Reserve. We have persuaded Rod to grow especially for us, some seedlings of species in Krantzkloof which you are unlikely to find in local nurseries. So as a bonus we will be giving away up to 10 plants with every edition of The Leopard’s Echo. Just follow the instructions in Keri’s article and you could be a lucky winner!

With every edition of The Leopard’s Echo we like to introduce you to different species so we engage experts in their field and there are not many that are as knowledgeable on Clivia as Val Thurston and Sean Chubb. Both are well known growers and in her article Val describes her passion for Clivia and two local varieties. Sean is one of South Africa’s top growers of Clivia but his passion has gone beyond the species itself and on his farm near Eston he has assembled an incredible collection of plants “with a history” in what he has labelled as his “Heritage Collection”. Sean’s article is complemented by some stunning photographs!

Enjoy the read and as always we would love your feedback.

Paolo Candotti