Magazine article Geographical

Tracking Enterprise with Rolex

Magazine article Geographical

Tracking Enterprise with Rolex

Article excerpt

A French speleologist who plans to explore and map the most southerly caves on Earth, a Canadian biologist working with Filipino fishermen to preserve seahorses and a Sri Lankan surgeon who is reducing the incidence of severe burns from unsafe bottle lamps are among the winners in the 1998 Rolex Awards for Enterprise.

The five laureates, selected from 2,600 applicants, also include a Bolivian social psychologist who is helping to recover and preserve ancient Andean ceremonial weavings and a South African former scientist who has revitalised the art of animal tracking with a hand-held computer. Louis Liebenberg's CyberTracker with its specially developed software enables native Bushmen, many of whom are illiterate, to record animal behaviour and movements by simply touching icons on its small screen.

African Bushmen have followed the tracks of animals, observing and interpreting footprints and trails, for hundreds of thousands of years, passing on their skills to successive generations by word-of-mouth. But of the few thousand bushmen left in the Kalahari region, many have become outcasts, says Liebenberg, "who despite their rich knowledge, have been exploited and are often given no credit for their skills". …

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