By Rory Young
Man-tracking is completely indispensable the anti-poaching. The better the tracker the easier it is to find and follow the poachers. The poachers know this of course and practice “anti-tracking” or “counter-tracking”measures to try and conceal their tracks or avoid leaving sign.
I watched a documentary on television recently where some well meaning former special forces soldiers were attempting to locate poachers by all means except cross graining for tracks in areas most likely to be traversed by poachers and of course failing.
Poachers are not stupid. Most of them were either guerilla fighters or counterinsurgency fighters or were taught by such experts who fought in the many bush wars in Southern and Central Africa. They know how to simply stand behind a tree trunk to conceal oneself from aircraft.
They also know they shouldn’t go near water points during the dry season as there will probably be observation posts set up to monitor them and so they carry large amounts of water, even if it means it will be backbreaking work and will slow them down.. They are patient determined and skilled.
Overcoming these tricks requires well developed tracking skills and a thorough understanding of counter tracking techniques.
Together with an expert tracker from the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority I spent some time training the Bumi Hills Anti Poaching Unit trackers in the Omay area in Zimbabwe in advanced tactical tracking techniques. More....