The highest level of practical tracking skills is required if trackers are to contribute meaningfully to conservation through animal monitoring, anti-poaching, animal habituation, environmental education and eco-tourism.
Tracker assessments have proved to be a powerful tool in the learning process. It inspires trackers to continually to improve their skills.
Due to the excessive exam pressure brought to bear from a once-off assessment, Tracker Academy conducts multiple evaluations to gain a clear understanding of the tracker’s skill level.
Tracker Academy supports the employment of nationally recognized wildlife trackers. We advocate for trackers to be remunerated pursuant of a formal qualification. Game reserves should incentivise trackers to engage with further training and assessment.
Tracker Academy revises its assessment policies annually in accordance with it’s CATHSSETA accreditation. The standards committee includes Ian Thomas, Renias Mhlongo, Karel Benadie, Brian Serrao, Mariette Ferreira, Alan Yeowart and Alex van den Heever.
Below is a summary of the assessment process.
Tracker Academy assesses its learners in accordance with assessment requirements set by CATHSSETA and FGASA.
Track and Sign Identification (50 questions)
This is an assessment of the candidate’s ability to:
- Correctly identify the tracks, feeding signs, territorial marking signs and droppings of any mammal, bird, insect, reptile or amphibian within a specific area of operation.
- Interpret and provide reasons for answers.
- Interpret clear and obscure tracks of all ages.
Alarm Call Identification (30 questions)
Bird and animal alarm calls are integral to a tracker’s knowledge, particularly when trailing predators. The tracker’s safety and understanding of certain animal behaviour are bound to these subtle calls.
- Tracker Academy assesses alarm call identification in respect of both its CATHSSETA (NQF2) and FGASA (Tracker Levels 1 to 4) training programmes.
- Calls are tested in the field practically or via digital player with good quality sound.
Trailing (following animal trails)
This assessment measures the candidate’s ability to follow an animal’s trail (set of tracks), while simultaneously displaying peripheral awareness until the animal is found.
- The candidate is asked to demonstrate, by following an animal’s trail, his/her ability to recognise tracks, anticipate animal movements and potential danger, and exhibit situational awareness throughout the process.
- Once the species is selected, it is the candidate’s task to locate a trail to follow. In this way, the assessor has the opportunity to assess the candidate’s ability to find tracks, decide on the age of the tracks, number of animals, and make a decision on whether or not to follow the trail.
- Once the animal is found, a judgement of the candidate’s ability to view it safely also forms part of the assessment.
Specific performance relating to each component is evaluated and scored objectively.
Assessments in respect of the CATHSSETA accredited training programme is recorded in a Portfolio of Evidence (PoE). The PoE is subjected to two internal and two external moderations per annum.
FGASA endorsed tracker levels 1 to 4 (Advanced) certificates are achieved in accordance with the results obtained during the assessment. The names and qualifications of all certified trackers are recorded under the Graduates tab of this website.
The Lead Tracker Programme is Tracker Academy’s highest level of tracking certification. See information here.