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Tracker Academy Rhino Guardians

An integrated Rhino Protection Stategy

The Promoters

Tracker Academy is the only formally accredited specialist tracker training school in Southern Africa. It has trained over 230 professional trackers for the conservation industry in the past 12 years. The Academy operates under the auspices of the Peace Parks Foundation and is chaired by founder, Mrs. Gaynor Rupert.

Londolozi Game Reserve Protector of all Living Things – is the original safari operator in South Africa.  Its conservation development model, endorsed by Nelson Mandela, became the blueprint for the establishment a multitude of safari operations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Problem Statement

At the current rate of rhino loses in Kruger National Park the species faces local extinction by 2028.

The anti-poaching forces are deficient in their ability to reverse this trend.

There exists a lack of trained bushcraft and traditional tracking skills within the ranks of the  anti-poaching personnel.

Some Facts

South Africa successfully saved rhino from the brink of extinction in the 1960s – courtesy of the work by Dr Ian Player.

South Africa is home to 83% of the world’s rhino population.

2012 Kruger National Park rhino population – 12 000.

2022 Kruger rhino population – 1800 (85% decline).



To use the ancient African craft of animal tracking to create safe havens for endangered species, particularly rhino and elephant.


To train and deploy highly specialised expert trackers as Rhino Guardians – able to bolster wildlife protection efforts by bringing enhanced bushcraft skills to counter-poaching units.

Training Operations

  • Sixteen (16) recruits trained on a yearlong formally accredited Conservation Guardianship programme incorporating both specialist tracking skills (bushcraft) and combat training.

  • Recruits undergo continuous psychometric and integrity testing as an essential part of a proven and rigorous selection process (refer Tracker Academy’s 12-year 94% deployment success record).

  • Graduates are deployed to create safe havens for rhino populations in reserves where management has demonstrated competence and trustworthiness.

Head Trainer: Amos Mzimba


Tracker Academy head trainer: Rhino Guardians since 2022

27 years in Kruger National Park.

Responsible for 300 arrests.

Meeting the demand


    • In 2021, an audit conducted by Tracker Academy revealed a deficiency in genuine tracking skills among those tasked with protecting rhino in southern Africa.

    • Expert trackers, now in their 60’s, are retiring, with no succession plan to fill the void of bushcraft experience.

    • Tracker Academy continues to receive numerous requests from private reserves and National Parks for professionally trained trackers to assist in counter-poaching efforts.

    • The demand for Rhino Guardian Trackers is growing – the solution certainly meets the demand.

Rhino Guardians in Training

The Need

Tracker Academy is seeking funding to double its training reach – from 16 to 32 Rhino Guardians per annum.

Cost per student – R150,000 (i.e., £7,500 or $8,800 – per candidate rhino guardian).

All photographs by Scott Ramsay.

Rhino Guardians Founding Donars

Rupert Family Foundations

Londolozi Game Reserve

Jake Donavan family

Will Gardiner family

Dag Skattum family

Alan Fenton family

James Linnett

Henry Makansi family

Anthony Mederer

Tom & Linda Rawles

Enquiries and Contact Details

SA College for Tourism - Tracker Academy

Magazine Hill
PO Box 314



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