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Rory Young shared this photo of a poacher’s tracks.
From the large size I think that a man left these prints. Also male because the toes are close together. Women’s toes are typically more spread apart.
His toes are not digging in so I think he is walking and not running or jogging. Though for someone walking his stride is quite long, that tells me that he has long legs. So probably a tall man.
I know he is very fit with not much fat on his body because his straddle is extremely tight. Straddle is the side-to-side width of his feet from each other. An unfit person will usually carry fat on the inside of their thighs and that will make their straddle wider.
He is not carrying a heavy load. If he was carrying something heavy his toes would dig in more, his straddle would be wider and stride would be shorter.
If there was a measuring stick next to one of his feet showing the exact length of his footprint I could give you his approximate height.
So we have a tall fit man, walking confidently along with no clue that rangers are on his trail. Either he is a foolish man or he has been doing his poaching with no fear of reprisal for too long, because he is leaving a very clear trail in a sandy area making no attempt to conceal his tracks.
The second photo shows the arrested poacher and his two sons. Rory explained that while one of them was putting out the fish traps, shown in the photo, the other was setting snares and gin traps in the bush. The youngest was their lookout.
(I have told Rory that if we ever walk together in the bush I will be jumping from rock to rock and will drag a big leafy branch behind me so he won’t know all my secrets.) 🙂
The theory phase has been amazing. From Director General level down to AP team leaders, from all over Guinea, the work is being taken very seriously and the discussions have been animated and indicate a high level of motivation and the determination to make the most of the opportunity.
I have been impressed and touched by never ending thank you’s and requests for advice on numerous ops plans and other AP initiatives.
Still three weeks to go, including practical and intensive in-ops phases. Thereafter, these participants will go out and pass on the training immediately to another three hundred officers. It is clear that the impact of this training on poaching in all protected areas of Guinea will be massive.
I am delighted to also hear that the training will be used to create well protected green zones as quickly as possible for the safe reintroduction of species such as elephant and lion! Go Guinea!
Lisa Groeneweg has gone so far beyond what could ever be expected or hoped for by someone like me in terms of dedicated support and tireless effort and sacrifice.
Thank you also to Lion ALERT for working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure it happens. David Youldon has ensured that our efforts are coordinated, managed and arranged professionally and without complaint and edited the field manual and so much more for no reward or recognition. This has been a model partnership between organizations, individuals and governments.
I have already been asked to return asap to advise on ops as they are planned and executed. How can we say no folks? It is so important to support a people trying hard to get it right. Guinea will reap the rewards for this effort in the future and I hope gain a reputation for much more than just the place where Ebola started.
In addition we have provided the departments and units with practical and objective field manuals, SOP’s and modules for further training and to ensure the skills are passed on as quickly and thoroughly as possible.