CyberTracker in Northern Europe
Louis Liebenberg, founder of Cybertracker Conservation, witnessed a steep decline in traditional tracking skills in southern Africa, and that to preserve this knowledge it was imperative that the custodians of the art should have some way of gaining recognition for their extraordinary ability and even gain income from it. with this in mind the Cyber part of CyberTracker was developed as a data capture programme to record and monitor the presence, absence and general distribution of the wildlife of South Africa.
Louis quickly realised that the data going into such a programme can only be as good as the person gathering that data. Being born in the bush is no guarantee of becoming a skilled tracker, like most things in life tracking has to be learned. With this in mind Louis set designed a system of evaluations to test observer reliability in track and sign interpretation and separately, the ability to trail an animal until it was found.
The first CyberTracker Tracker Evaluation in the Thornybush Nature Preserve near Kruger National Park in 1994. Since that time, the evaluation system has become the National Standard for South Africans certified to work within ecotourism, as well as an international standard for wildlife tracking skills in an increasing number of countries.
In 2005 another remarkable tracker and wildlife biologist Mark Elbroch from the USA earned his Senior Tracker Evaluator Certificate in Kruger National Park, subsequently providing the first CyberTracker Tracker Evaluation in North America late that same year. The system spread amazing quickly such is the strength of the system and operates across North America. Mark is the author of several tracking books and his work quickly came to the attention of keen trackers in the UK. Mark, together with excellent trailing specialist Brian McConnell, where invited to deliver track and sign and trailing evaluations in the south and north of England.
The first UK evaluations where held in West Sussex in 2012 hosted by John and his company. Very soon after Rene and Joscha also started to host evaluations. Working with the USA the system has spread across much of Northern Europe and continues to travel. Simultaneously, or perhaps a little before, Jose Galan of Spain working with African evaluators established the system across Spain and several other southern European countries. The system continues to expand an has become without doubt the international standard to measure tracking ability spanning both continents and hemispheres.