Rangers are taught “basic training” in a short 6-8 week period of time. During this general training they learn
- animal identification and behavior
- bird identification
- plant and grass identification
- how to recognize and manage soil erosion
- general patrol techniques
- bush craft
- bush survival
- first aid
This is a lot to take in during a short amount of time. Once employed, they study and learn on-the-job with senior rangers. During their time with a reserve, there is constant in-house training to enhance or maintain their skills. Additional outside training is welcomed, but can be more costly.
Rangers have some familiarity in animal tracking, but humans are another kind of animal. Poachers are an ever-present danger. Due to the increase and intensity of poaching, it is absolutely essential for rangers to learn how to track them within their area.
Human (or poacher) tracking teaches them
Early detection of the presence of suspicious activities / presence of suspects.
The systematic following of a suspects trail that can lead to the:
Location of traps, snares, camps, entry and exit point, and poaching hot spots.
Apprehension of the suspects whether it be trespassers or poachers
Gathering of invaluable intelligence on movement and operation patterns, level of skill, modus operandi, and current weaknesses within the implemented operational plan, which will feed into the counter poaching model,
Gathering of evidence linking suspects to scenes of crime.
With poachers having the advantage of the element of surprise, working in groups, and often better armed, learning how to detect them is crucial both to the safety of the rangers and wildlife.
FightforRhinos received a plea from a ranger in a smaller APU in southern Kruger to help them learn human tracking. We have found an outside, reputable training program to send them to. But we can’t do it without your help. To support our efforts, please go to Go-Fund-Me or make a donation through Paypal on the Donate button at fightforrhinos.com