Rhino protection in the Eastern Cape remains a focus for the ongoing collaboration between the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) and the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF).
As a follow up to the mentoring training sessions held at the end of 2021, man-tracking was identified as a skill that required development amongst the K9 handlers. Developing this would be crucial and part of their development as handlers involved in follow ups.
The course was funded by Game Rangers Association of Africa and Chipembere Rhino Foundation and hosted by Addo National Elephant Park. Twelve individuals were chosen from National Parks and Indalo Reserves due to their commitment to trying to improve their own capabilities.
A successful course conducted with a group of eager learners. Basic tracking skills were taught to the group and all fundamentals of reporting, communication and formations used in tracking were dealt with. This included: early spoor detection and patrol discipline, tactical tracking formations including lost track procedure, gathering of field Intel and track interpretation, practical SOP (standard operating procedures) with regards to track reports / gunshot reports, contact report, anti tracking methods and counter follow up procedure, track aging, operational follow up procedures, night tracking methods and procedures and the use of K9 within the tracking team.
GRAA and CRF have supported Eastern Cape rhino reserves over the years with area integrity assessments and funding for counter-insurgency tracker training, tactical night shooting, K9 handling capability, first responder first aid training and now, man-tracking.