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    or is it droppings……..Track and sign with Colin Patrick has officially been completed! It was an exciting week packed with learning new animal tracks, identifying animals by scat and trying to put together a story of what animals were previously in an area based on the tracks they’ve left behind.

    The week began with setting out to find fresh animal tracks left in the dirt. Colin always carried his trusted walking stick, which he used to circle tracks for us to decipher. We all walked around together, circle to circle, and felt quite confident about our answers because we had done some intro to tracking with our trainers. As the week went on, however, we learned so many animal tracks that they all started to look the same. All of a sudden the tree squirrel and dwarf mongoose tracks seemed almost identical and the bushbuck and nyala tracks also looked very similar. Frustration turned to very low levels of self-esteem and we took a break from tracks for a bit.

    Colin brought his amazing anti-poaching, tracker dog, Annie, to demonstrate her tracking abilities and talk about tracking in terms of anti-poaching. We split into two groups and one group headed off into the bush to try and ‘hide’ from Annie. The group that stayed behind got to run (more like sprint) into the bush after the other group, following Annie’s lead. Annie is truly incredible and it was an awesome experience to watch her do her thing and follow the trail of humans. This was a much needed break, but the following day we got back to business. As Colin taught us to spot small differences in tracks, our spirits were raised and we all started feeling confident once again, just in time for our assessment.

     

    On assessment day, we started bright and early and waited eagerly for Colin to circle tracks that we would be tested on. We had a good time with it, and everyone in our group ended up receiving a tracking level! We ended assessment day with cooking some delicious boeries in the bush. It was an epic week and we are more than excited to continue to advance our knowledge of tracks.

    Blog by Ellie Schwartz