Over the last thirty years, Louis Liebenberg, founder of Cybertracker Conservation, witnessed a steep decline in traditional tracking skills in southern Africa. As a means to identify those dwindling few with excellent tracking skills, and to help rebuild a body of tracking knowledge, Liebenberg designed and provided 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.
U.S. tracker Mark Elbroch earned his Senior Tracker Evaluator Certificate in Kruger National Park in 2005, and subsequently provided the first CyberTracker Tracker Evaluation in North America late that same year. In collaboration with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Texas A&M University, the first evaluations were used to test observer reliability in wildlife biologists recording the presence of river otters (Lontra canadensis) in eastern Texas. The Evaluation system proved to be an excellent measure of observer reliabity and an unparalleled training tool**; thus we enlarged the program and provided evaluations to TPWD employees throughout the state. Since then, the process has grown steadily but slowly, and now over 1000 people have been through the process in the Unites States alone
**For more information, see Evans, J., Wharton, C., Packard, J., Calkins, G. and M. Elbroch. 2009. Determining Observer Reliability in Counts of River Otter Tracks. Journal of Wildlife Management 73: 426-432.
Since their start, Tracker Evaluations in North America have been put to use by numerous schools, state agencies and research teams. Initial support for tracker evaluations was provided by White Pine Programs and the San Diego Tracking Team, where both teachers and students participated side by side. Since then, numerous other schools and organizations have hosted Tracker Evaluations. For a complete history of Cybertracker Conservation visit cybertracker.org.