5 July 2012
In 2011 BirdlifeSA sponsored two raptor courses for the Tracker Academy students. As eagles and vultures are some of the most charismatic birds, and the fact that the students will be asked to explain the behaviour of eagles in their careers, it was felt that the raptor course would be of greatest value.
The first course was run at Samara Game Reserve, and the second at Londolozi Game Reserve. Both courses were conducted by an instructor called Joe Grosel, an excellent birder and trainer. The students thoroughly enjoyed both the courses, and many said it was one of the highlights of the tracking course. As a consequence of these two courses, the Tracker Academy applied for additional courses to be run by BirdlifeSA on other topics relating to general birding skills. The successful tracking of large cats like leopard and lion often requires the understanding by the tracker of the subtle bird alarm calls in the bush. Hence birding is an important component of our training.
BirdlifeSA is funded by Sasol. Three weeks ago the Tracker Academy made an application to BirdlifeSA for the provision of binoculars for the students, to which they responded by donating five pairs of Bushnell binoculars to the Tracker Academy. Martin Taylor, the project manager for BirdlifeSA has been very generous in his dealings with the Tracker Academy.
Alex van den Heever, general manager of the Tracker Academy said: 'We are exceptionally grateful for the donation. It will certainly help our students to better utilise their birding skills."