The Karoo Predator Project is deeply saddened by the passing of its partner and friend Piet Gouws. A memorial service was held in Laingsburg on Saturday 28/01/2017.
Piet will be profoundly missed, in the Karoo and beyond. We lost more than a partner farmer. Without him, the Karoo Predator Project would not have been born. It was Piet who asked Prof. Beatrice Conradie to help start a research project on predators and farming in the Central Karoo. He and his wife Marijke invited her and other researchers from UCT to stay on his farm and it soon became the base for the Karoo Predator Project. Later on, when Marine joined the project, he introduced her to many other farmers and welcomed her into his family as if she was his own daughter, in spite of the language barrier. He also welcomed Kai and Marion and accommodated them while they were conducting fieldwork and research on baboons. He continuously supported the Karoo Predator Project research, including the capture and release of predators. Piet even took care of an orphan caracal while we were looking for a place to reintroduce him – even though wild caracals were sometimes killing his own lambs.
Piet must have found it very challenging working with researchers, conservationists, French students and vegetarians! Everyone who’d ever had the privilege of working with him and his family always found them welcoming, caring and resourceful. We will miss him very, very much. This is truly a great loss to the Karoo Predator Project but we will keep on working with farmers to better understand predation in the central Karoo.
The Karoo Predator Project is sending out to his family, and especially his wife Marijke, his daughter Marlie and his son Pieter, its most heartfelt condolences and sympathy.