Today is World Ranger Day (31 July) – on this day we acknowledge and celebrate the contribution that rangers all around the world make protecting our wildlife.
The relationship between a Ranger and Tracker is a vital and special one. The trackers, most of whom have grown up in the surrounding areas the lodges they work for, are masters at finding animals. The ranger/tracker team, work together to create a magical safari experience for each guest. Trackers are able to understand animal behaviour. and if the tracker is able to find the game, it makes the ranger’s job of sharing his wildlife knowledge much easier. Rangers and trackers are often paired together for lengthy periods, helping them build a good rapport between them. (A day in the life of a Ranger)
Meet Tracker Godfrey:
Tell us how you got started in the Safari Industry? When I started working at Morukuru Family Madikwe, I was in the maintenance department. With the support and encouragement of the organisation I completed my tracker certification.
How many years have you been a tracker? I have been a fully qualified tracker for 3 years
Is working in the bush your dream job?Yes! Working in the bush has always been my dream and I learn something new every day.
To be a tracker you need to be passionate about people, the environment and about wildlife…do you agree with this statement? Yes, I do. being able to read people is themost important way to make sure that guests have the best stay possible. Happy guests are more engaged which means they are open to learning about the bush. Education is such a big part of conservation.
How have you benefited from training and skills development offered by Morukuru? Morukuru has a strong belief in developing their staff. This commitment has allowed me to create a career path and move from maintenance into tracking. Once I had expressed an interest in tracking, management assisted me in getting my tracking qualification, I am extremely grateful for this. Plus working with the more experienced trackers and guides has really helped me to become the tracker I am today.
Do you have a mentor? And what have you learned from her or him? Yes, Andrew Linton my General Manager at Morukuru. He took me out on many walks and drives and helped me improve my skills.
Morukuru Family is situated in the Madikwe which is part of Big Five country…which of the Big Five is your favourite animal? My favourite animal is the leopard because in Madikwe they are difficult to find, so when you do find one it is a very special sighting.
Unfortunately, Rhino poaching is a reality – how does Morukuru work to fight against relentless poachers who are destroying this species? Morukuru has created the Morukuru Goodwill Foundation which is actively involved in many conservation efforts including donating equipment to the anti-poaching units. Morukuru offers guests the unique opportunity to directly assist in the battle for rhino conservation by getting personally involved in projects like rhino notching and guests can financially contribute towards conservation work. Morukuru has also donated special equipment to the anti-poaching unit and through the Goodwill Foundation has donated funds to many other conservation projects.
The Big Five get all the attention but the bush is full of animals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. What interesting stories/facts can you share about any of these? There are many interesting animals other than the big five, my favourite bird is the lilac breasted roller because it is very beautiful and photographs very well, I always enjoy seeing it. (The little 5)
The bush also has diverse botany – trees, plants and grasses. Tell us something interesting about any of these? My favourite tree is the Tamboti or Morukuru tree. They are very pretty trees and can be used in traditional medicine as a diuretic. Never use the wood on a fire as the smoke can make you feel very sick!
Tell us about a typical day in the bush? I usually wake up around 05h00 for the game drive and prepare the vehicle and then take the guests out. I enjoy every game drive even if we don’t see much. We usually get back around 10h00 when I’ll prepare the vehicle for the afternoon drive. This is my time to grab a break or help the maintenance team for a while. We go on the afternoon drive at around 16h00 and we usually get back around 19h00. After that I prepare the vehicle for the next morning when the cycle begins again.
What is your favourite part of the job?I enjoy tracking the animals! It is an amazing feeling to follow tracks and then find the animal. My job is totally unpredictable as every day is different. The opportunity to constantly learn and grow is also a big “plus” for me.