There are pockets of indigenous people who still rely on their skills to hunt animals for their live- lihood. Amongst the Kalahari Bushmen of Africa, the Aborigines of arid Australia and the Inuit of the Arctic, the ability to read the earth survives. Tracking examines the skills of these people, from vastly different environments around the world.
To find animals, trackers use all possible clues. They not only read everything written in the sand, but also read ‘between the lines’ and ‘into the sand’. From childhood, trackers develop an intimate understanding of animal behavior.
In the words of an African tracker, “in my imagination I become the animal I’m stalking”. He heads for where there may be water or food. He makes sure he is always “down wind’ so the animal doesn’t detect it is being followed – if it does it will track him. Though he may be a hundred steps behind the animal, mentally, he is one step ahead.
From traditional tracking, Tracking moves to the application of tracking today. It has become a critical tool in rhino conservation to detect the whereabouts of poachers. Tracking is also used in wildlife surveys, the study of animal behaviour, sport hunting and nature tourism.
Although The Art of Tracking is the story of people who have a deep understanding of animal behaviour, it is also the story of animals and their behaviour, shown through the eyes of these remarkable people.