"Skilled, talented trackers are fast disappearing. It would be an indictment on modern conservation to lose this important traditional knowledge. The Tracker Academy seeks to restore and preserve the ancient indigenous African art of tracking.” – Alex van den Heever
The skill of tracking is predominantly focused on identifying and following animal’s tracks at the moment. In the past, trackers followed a greater variety of signs, calls, behaviours and skills in interpreting them. Trackers need knowledge, patience and experience as well as physical endurance and mental focus. These characteristics often need to be used in difficult environmental conditions and require committed training. With the lack of trained trackers there is a severe mistreatment of trackers. The Tracker Academy hopes to provide a solution to these issues.
In 2010 a bold and visionary action by Mrs Gaynor Rupert made the Tracker Academy possible. The Tracker Academy is a training division of the SA College for Tourism (SACT) which is chaired by Mrs Rupert and operates under the auspices of the Peace Parks Foundation. SACT Tracker Academy is a non-profit organisation which trains disadvantaged rural people in the traditional skills of tracking. The accreditation of its training programme with the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) made the Tracker Academy the first tracker training school to achieve this distinction in South Africa. More than 94% of Tracker Academy graduates are permanently employed in the nature-based tourism industry of South Africa.
The academy aims to empower the tracker graduates with the knowledge and skills to become custodians and ambassadors of Africa’s wildlife by bringing authentic engagement with environmental education, wildlife protection, eco-tourism, monitoring and tourism. The ultimate hope is that through training trackers that the academy will contribute significantly to the current knowledge of tracking by unearthing new discoveries in the subject of tracking.
To learn more about the Tracker Academy you can visit the website here.