The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
The SA College for Tourism Tracker Academy continues to successfully train highly skilled trackers who are extremely sought after in the conservation sector. The Academy has shown that traditional tracking skills have a tremendously valuable role to play in modern conservation. Since the Academy’s inception in 2010, 100% of the tracker graduates have found permanent employment in the animal monitoring and habituation, eco-tourism and wildlife protection sectors. Two graduates have even been contracted to start a jaguar habituation project in the Pantanal in Brazil, thus proving that tracking skills can have an impact far beyond the shores of Africa.
This success story concerns Bongani Toto, who hails from the Eastern Cape in South Africa and graduated from the Tracker Academy in November 2012. He has been employed by a company called K9 Conservation and is undergoing training as a sniffer dog handler. K9 Conservation specialises in the use of highly trained dog working units in the battle against poaching, illegal hunting and wildlife trade. A handler and his or her dog are carefully selected and paired to maximise efficiency and effectiveness
Bongani has been paired with a dog named Assegai and together they are conducting anti-poaching patrols, tracking suspects and following injured animals in the southern portion of the Kruger National Park. This is a wonderful example of human and dog tracking skills complementing each other. Man’s best friend has now also become wildlife’s best friend!