Empowering Guardians of the Wild and Preserving Ancient Tracking Traditions

As the golden sun sets over the African bushveld, a remarkable tale of conservation and cultural preservation unfolds. Today, we wanted to highlight the incredible efforts of Tracker Academy and Rhino Guardians, two impactful NGOs working tirelessly to conserve Africa’s precious rhino population and preserve ancient tracking traditions.

Nurturing the Art of Tracking

Imagine a world where footsteps tell stories, where nature’s whispers are understood, and where a community of trackers bridges the gap between man and wildlife. The Tracker Academy has been at the forefront of reviving the ancient art of tracking, not just as a means of conservation but also as a way of connecting with our ancient wisdom and natural heritage.

This ancient skill has relevance in modern conservation efforts

With the recent addition of the Rhino Guardians project, Tracker Academy is now running two formally accredited programmes side-by-side – trackers for ecotourism and trackers for counter-poaching.

Tracking

Training the Next Generation

In the first half of 2023, a total of sixteen tracker students completed and passed their final practical tracking assessments – eight of these destined to become Rhino Guardians and eight to be placed in tourism safari lodges. Additionally, all were found competent against the CATHSSETA NQF2 Tracker and NQF4 Conservation Guardian Skills Programmes. These brilliant individuals are now equipped with the skills to monitor and track wild animals, detect signs of poaching and contribute to research initiatives.

Three generations of world-class tracker trainers and Londolozi Living Legends – Ian Thomas, Renias Mhlongo & Innocent Ngwenya

The second group of students has been stationed at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve for the first six months of 2023, but has now moved here, to Londolozi, for their second 6-month semester. We are honoured to have them here with us, and look forward to more exciting updates to follow from the group.

Each student records a minimum of 150 encounters with high-profile animals such as lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino and buffalo on foot. With each student graduating their final year with 1550 hours in the bush practising their tracking skills.

Defenders of the Wild

The African rhino, majestic and endangered, has found staunch defenders in the Rhino Guardians. Committed to safeguarding these gentle giants, this project works hand in hand with local communities, law enforcement agencies, and conservationists to create a safer haven for rhinos.

The Rhino Guardians programme combines traditional skills of tracking with modern combat and law enforcement skills

There are numerous subjects undertaken during the accredited skills programme, such as tracking animals, identifying spoor, performing conservation guardianship, enforcing conservation compliance, tracking a person, and handling weapons. In addition to this, students are engaged in rigorous practical tracking training, and as part of the year-long programme, will spend 6 months operating in a real-world Counter-Poaching unit (APU).

It is an impressive list for students to immerse themselves in, and we at Londolozi couldn’t be more delighted to play a part in supporting these projects for years to come.

Rhino Guardians

The beauty of these initiatives lies in their synergy. The ancient tracking traditions upheld by the Tracker Academy are not only essential for effective monitoring but also form a deep connection between humans and the wilderness. Similarly, the modern strategies employed by the Rhino Guardians blend seamlessly with age-old wisdom, creating a multi-faceted approach to conservation.

As we move into the second half of 2023, the Tracker Academy and Rhino Guardians continue to inspire and empower. These NGOs remind us that conservation goes beyond protecting species; it’s about preserving the intricate tapestry of life and culture that thrives in harmony in Africa.

2022 Tracker Academy

The Londolozi Ripple Fund remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting these organizations and their noble missions. Through our continued collaboration, we believe that the wild rhinos of Africa will not just survive, but thrive and that the ancient art of tracking will find new enthusiasts who will carry it forward for generations to come.

This post would not be complete without acknowledging Gaynor Rupert for her vision, energy, and grace in making Tracker Academy a reality in the first place. Inkomu, Mrs. Rupert! You have made a material difference to the protection of wild animals and wild places. 

How to Contribute

  • If you would like some more detailed, one-on-one information, or if you would like to make a donation to the Londolozi Ripple Fund and start your own ripple effect, please reach out to us at ripple@londolozi.co.za
  • Donate to the preservation of ancient knowledge and the creation of safe havens for iconic species like the rhino with Tracker Academy and Rhino Guardians  (use the #Londolozi in the subject line)

Join us in celebrating the achievements of the Tracker Academy and Rhino Guardians. Together, we can make a lasting impact on the wild and safeguard the legacy of Africa’s rhinos and tracking traditions.


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