“I realised very soon into my new career that dogs had a far greater role in conservation than was being achieved at that time. The breed is known for its hardiness in extreme conditions, its intelligence, high energy and speed. If it were not for the rhino horn trade, rhinos would be able to lead the long, peaceful lives that they deserve. In 2015, the peak of rhino poaching, 1,349 rhinos were killed, in 2019, this number dropped to 754. What you might not know about rhino conservation, is that there is a group of animals who are as dedicated to saving their fellow wildlife. Our commitment to service, together with our knowledge and absolute passion for Africa, ensures that our clients have memorable, seamless and hassle-free holidays. When we talk of conservation and the penultimate survival of species, it is generally looked at with a view towards preservation of our future generations. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to some of the most endangered wildlife in the world and, in 2013 with poaching threats on the rise, the park established an anti-poaching dog unit consisting mainly of a special breed of dog known as a Malinois. On 6 January 2016, he was awarded a PDSA Gold Medal for his anti-poaching work. From this, Animals Saving Animals was founded in 2016, which now trains and provides anti-poaching dogs to conservation organisations across the world. However, this is not currently the case. However, in the past, different dogs would have to be used for different roles. The breed descends from a common type of shepherd dog found throughout Western Europe that includes such modern breeds as the Bouvier des Ardennes, Dutch Shepherd and German Shepherd. Over the years, I have seen some mixed-breed dogs work much more effectively than a pure-breed dog. But hope is on the horizon – poaching numbers are on the decline. Have you ever heard of a conservation dog doing important anti-poaching work? You can find out more about the work of Animals Saving Animals and hear the latest on the last male northern white rhino, Sudan, at the ‘Shades of Grey: Seven Saviours of Black and White Rhino’ event in London on 15 March, hosted by Ol Pejeta and their UK partner Helping Rhinos. Raising dogs to be successful members of anti-poaching units requires extremely specialist training. They are trained to run until they find the poacher. 1,028 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2017, making it the fifth year in a row that over 1,000 rhinos have been illegally slain. It was following a volunteer trip to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, assisting dog teams in their training, that he realised what difference dogs could make to anti-poaching patrols. Written By. Farmers, hunters, security firms, schools, churches, factories, and businesses need a tracker dog /anti-poaching dog K9 (Canine) trained by professionals for various applications. Rhino populations are by no means thriving, but the future is looking positive. A group of orphaned white rhino calves doze in the shade. In the last 10 years, 9,442 African rhinos have been lost to poaching. In … The dogs track the poachers and cover enough ground in just one hour, in low light, to find the men. A dog also requires a proper trainer, who needs to be added to the payroll, as well as dog food and housing. In favourable conditions dogs can alert rangers to the presence of a poacher up to one kilometre away. In my experience, it’s the time and effort invested into each dog that brings … With the K9 unit, the rate has increased to 54 percent—a 10-fold improvement. Poaching is big business - one rhino horn can reach in excess of £200,000 - and the demand for horn continues to grow, particularly from Vietnam and China. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. The Belgian Malinois is chosen for anti-poaching work because of its superior agility, intelligence and bite strength. Conservationists waging war on the multi-million pound poaching trade have employed a new breed of operatives to help them catch criminals. Rhino Conservation, Botswana, where Prince Harry is Patron, is working with Pleasants’ dogs. Potential clients are often uncertain about how they can apply a Tracker Dog /Anti-Poaching Dog in their business, school, church, factory, or on their farms. From February 2018 to December 2019, alone, the K9 Unit was deployed 120 times, make 134 arrests and seized 55 weapons. For one, an anti-poaching dog can cost upward of $10,000, which becomes a pricey arrangement for the cash-strapped parks. However, success has been seen among mixed breed dogs. But that doesn’t mean that these breeds will always be the best dogs for conservation and anti-poaching work. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. “Triple role” dogs, as Pleasants calls them, have cut down reaction times to poaching attempts drastically. Press Trust Of India . Two year old Saxon and her handler Moses on duty in North Luangwa National Park, Zambia. At a year old they are moved to their new conservancy or national park where they are teamed with their new handlers. Using dogs in the battle against poaching is not a new phenomenon. In the last 10 years more than 7,000 African rhino have been illegally killed. Tony Carnie, How super-trained canines have become a crucial part of the fight to conserve wildlife, {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}}, Meet the dogs on the anti-poaching front line, You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully, Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification. Field rangers have historically been trained to work with on-leash tracking dogs, which are still widely used as an invaluable addition to any anti-poaching … Animals Saving Animals was recently featured on channel 5's 'Our new Puppy' series 4 Episode 4. Superstars Polaris and Rogue are Belgian Malinois dogs, similar in looks and personality to the German Shepherd. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. South Africa is home to 80% of the world’s last remaining rhinos, making it a central part of rhino conservation. They have a fantastic sense of smell and are extremely quick. The Anti-poaching Dog Squad. Click here to find out more about Pit-Track, and how you can help. Discover what Rwanda named their 24 baby gorillas this year. In the words of Theresa Sowry, CEO of the Southern African Wildlife College: “They find great joy out of doing what they are born and meant to do, which is hunting. The breed is known for its hardiness in extreme conditions, its intelligence, high energy and speed. Dogs are, in their nature, effective hunters. Lions begin to rouse from their daytime slumber, minds focused on dinner. Animals Saving Animals work with partner organisations like the Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent, who allow access around the perimeters of the lion enclosures to train in realistic environments. But training an anti-poaching dog doesn’t happen overnight. He said: 'He was a very active, mobile puppy. Cooperation also increased with MONUC, which has provided Park staff with necessary anti-poaching equipment and in cooperation with FARDC conducted several military operations to try to evict armed militia from the property, thereby improving security in the property. Anne Kruger, who works in the K9 Conservation Unit, states that the dogs have reacted extremely positively to this new role: “They find great joy out of doing what they are born and meant to do, which is hunting. Primarily Dutch & Belgian Shepherd Dogs. This decline is largely due to the tireless and constant efforts of rangers, conservation teams, anti-poaching units, communities, organisations and individuals who have committed themselves to saving our wonderful rhino. When it comes to anti-poaching dogs, there importance of breed can be overly considered. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. The area has a problem with poachers coming in at night armed with spears and with dogs to poach. The dogs I train are capable of fulfilling all three roles, making them highly effective members of the anti-poaching teams.” says Pleasants. The Kruger National Park is a living success story of the anti-poaching dogs. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. It takes months of hard work to train these dogs, as they have to be able to track a number of things at once. Pleasants served for eight years as a dog trainer in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps before leaving to set up a dog training business in 1998. Pleasants believes his dogs are helping reduce poaching rates by up to 72% in some areas. While most of our dogs' jobs include lounging on the sofa, begging for treats, and putting up with too many snuggles, some dogs have actual jobs. A variety of different dog breeds are used, such as Belgian Malinois, beagle, fox hound, bloodhound, and mixed breed coonhounds, which are traditional hunting dogs. The anti-poaching patrols are unarmed and out numbered when they encounter the poachers at night. A common sight in the service of Belgian shepherds for centuries, it was not until the end of the 19th century that a breed club was formed and attempts were made to standardise the breed. They have a great sense of smell, and are fast. Dog Breed Group: herding dogs; Height: 1 foot, 10 inches to 2 feet, 2 inches tall at the shoulder; Weight: 40 to 80 pounds; females weigh 40 to 60 pounds ; Life Span: 12 to 14 years; World War I Belgian shepherd dog's military activity: messenger dogs; red cross dogs; ambulance cart dogs; light machine-gun cart dogs; Current events regarding poaching crisis. Since its establishment in 1996, Pembury Tours has emerged as one of the leading tour operators in Southern & Eastern Africa. unesdoc.unesco.org.  There is many aspects to their training, but the three main traits that trainers focus on developing in the dogs is scent-tracking ability, baying ability and aggressiveness (not to bite or attach but to ensure poachers are intimidated enough not to run or attack back). We selectively breed, train and supply dual and triple role, tracking and apprehension dogs for designated conservancies throughout Africa. Their speed, intelligence and agility are rarely surpassed making them perfect for a long and rewarding operational life. Here they receive a further six months operational training before beginning life as an anti-poaching patrol dog. Dogs 4 Wildlife are honoured to able to aid in the training and supply of anti-poaching dogs to specific conservancies and national parks in Africa and throughout the world; with a view to assisting in the continued protection and continuation of the African Elephant and both the black and white Rhino, whom, if the poaching epidemic continues at its current rate will see there demise within 10 years. Before night falls, the poaching team have intercepted and arrested a gang and recovered dangerous arms. But it’s not just lions hunting their prey in the African dusk, humans are too. Teaching commences at twelve weeks old, with environmental training and socialisation with other dogs. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to some of the most endangered wildlife in the world and, in 2013 with poaching threats on the rise, the park established an anti-poaching dog unit consisting mainly of a special breed of dog known as a Malinois. The Belgian Malinois is chosen for anti-poaching work because of its superior agility, intelligence and bite strength. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. Handler, Samuel, follows behind. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. Dogs are naturally effective hunters – it is in their DNA. These are members of a furry breed of anti-poaching operatives, dogs that can detect a whiff of hidden rhino horn in a suspect's vehicle or follow the spoor of armed poachers in South Africa's besieged wildlife parks. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. I am involved in trying to establish a conservancy in Zimbabwe and need some advice on dog breeds that will be needed. Showing ASA Anti-Poaching puppy 'Savas' undergoing helicopter training with Saxon Air in Norfolk prior to his departure to Botswana. The poachers panic, drop their equipment, including guns and heavy calibre ammunition, and surrender. From 2008 to 2018, more than half of the rhinos that were poached in South Africa, were poached in Kruger. The breed is also used in many military operations and to guard the grounds of the White House by the US Secret Service. Bengal Forest Department Inducts Another Dog For Anti-poaching Operations The recruit, Sweetie, became the third member in the dog squad deployed to track poaching and related crimes in Buxa Tiger Reserve in North Bengal . Canine anti-poaching units are highly effective. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. How super-trained canines have become a crucial part of the fight to conserve wildlife, Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. Watch Murwi from Puppy to Anti Poaching Dog here. Service dogs, K9 dogs, search and rescue dogs, the list of dogs with cool jobs goes on. India could be next, where dogs will help safeguard tigers. At Ol Pejeta, only two rhino have been poached in two years, and the last northern white male rhino on earth, Sudan, is being protected from poachers by dogs here. The mastermind behind this simple but highly effective use of dogs to prevent wildlife poaching is Daryll Pleasants, a military dog instructor. To date we have 8 operational Anti Poaching dogs currently protecting against wildlife crime, from the Mkomazi National Park, Tanzania to the Save Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe, with more of our dogs due to be supplied over the coming months. Fact of the matter is that a tracker dog / anti-poaching dog K9 (Canine) trained by professionals can play a positive and sometimes even vital role in all of the above. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? And Johan told how Killer had left an “immense legacy”. When they need to protect the handler as well we only use Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds and German Shepherds. Welcome to the world of the anti-poaching dog units. This includes the scent of humans, sniffing out rhino horn, protecting the rangers and even knowing how to find ammunitions. Anti-Poaching Dogs – Rhino Conservation Heroes. We hadn't either, until we met Puma! Ultimately, the logistical legwork for a dog is sometimes just too much for the … It takes a different breed for different tasks. Doberman-bloodhound mixes are the "on-line trackers," part of a specialized team that works with human handlers to track down poachers in the … All these tracking skills are crucial to making these dogs effective companions when in the field.  In fact, the anti-poaching team is considered the best in Africa – since 2011, over 90% of the arrests that have been made in the Kruger National Park have been through the assistance of their canine unit. Equipped with goggles, harnesses, muzzles and earmuffs, dogs are being trained to skydive from 7,500ft into danger zones and snare poachers. Yet, the introduction of anti-poaching dogs has made a real difference to poaching levels. Photo: McKenzie Homan . Dec 26, 2015 - Venom and Killer. In South Africa, the number of rhinos poached increased by an incredible 9,246% from 2007-14. There is no technology that could work better. K9 Killer is a Belgian Malinois dog that works with the Kruger National Park's Special Operations team to prevent rhinoceros poachers in South Africa. What you might not know about rhino conservation, is that there is a group of animals who are as dedicated to saving their fellow wildlife. Do you need a Tracker Dog / Anti-Poaching Dog K9 (Canine) in your business? So far we have funded ten specialist anti-poaching dogs, with four of these deployed to important black rhino breeding areas in Zimbabwe (Vaala), Botswana (Savas and Primaa) and Kenya (Drum) and trained by our UK partner Animals saving Animals.. According to Benny Van Zyl, who leads the canine team at the  North Luangwa Conservation Programme, a dog’s effectiveness with tracking or detection often boils down to its inherent drive, the training methods used, and the time and effort dedicated by its training team. Extremus K9's Murwi will be deployed to the Imire Rhino and Wildlife Sanctuary, Zimbabwe in April 2018. Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? When eventual retirement comes, the dogs stay on the conservancies and generally remain with their handlers. Daryll Pleasants will be speaking alongside well known television vet Steve Leonard (Vets in the Wild). At 45 years old and with his health slowly deteriorating, Sudan needs all the protection the dogs can give him. The episode was filmed in 2019, Savas was deployed in July and is doing well in his new Anti-Poaching role. You can also help contribute to the K9 unit’s upkeep, including helping pay for their training and veterinarian services, nutrition, accreditations and gear. We have been enthusiastic supporters of anti-poaching dog units for some time now. Dogs are required to undergo an intensive training programme in the UK before eventual deployment into the field. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? When the armed guards go out to intercept the poachers simply lie … This means anti-poaching teams are now much better equipped to track at night, and cover greater ground too. The World's No 1 anti-poaching dog, Killer, has been put to sleep after helping to catch 200 … Early evening in the Zimbabwean savannah, the light is fading. La coopération a également augmenté avec la MONUC, qui a fourni au … Dogs are naturally effective hunters – it is in their DNA. unesdoc.unesco.org . These units are not just found in the Kruger but also proving to be successful in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana. We have vast experience with this breed and find no other has the adaptability and level of characteristics that the role and life of an anti-poaching dog requires. Read our full mailing list consent terms here. Dogs are not just trained to track down poachers but also to sniff out and detect firearms, rhino horns, pangolin scales, ivory, bush meat and other concealed illegal products. They have a fantastic sense of smell and are extremely quick. (By comparison, a young park ranger is often paid less than $500 a month). One dog would be sent out to track and another would then be used to apprehend a suspect, costing critical time. One of the rhinos being protected by Pleasants’ dogs on Ol Pejeta is Sudan, the last male northern white rhino in the world. Amos Mizmba is the owner of K9 Killer. Recent figures released from the South African government show that poaching is still at crisis levels. Dogs have been introduced to anti-poaching units and are proving extremely successful in their contribution to decreases in rhino poaching. Without dogs, according to the college, enforcement teams on average were catching only 3 to 5% of known poachers (this is generally accepted as the average). Dogs themselves also need to be protected. Polaris, a sleek and muscular black dog in body armour is released, followed by another athletic tracker dog, Rogue. As dogs progress, tracking, bite work and firearms searches are introduced, followed by tactical training, which includes working under gunfire or smoke grenades. Dogs in Africa tend to be trained in one discipline: to search, track or attack. Details at helpingrhinos.org. Pleasants calls them the ‘infantry soldier’ of the dog world. In recent years poachers are being arrested thanks to four-legged help in various protected areas in Africa. It is a sad fact that rhinos still face constant threat of extinction at the hands of poachers. EWT sniffer dog, Renaldo, quickly makes correct identifications during training ©Belinda Glenn, Endangered Wildlife Trust Launch of Paramount Group’s Anti-Poaching and K9 Academy ©Paramount Group Condor is rewarded with his ball during training ©Belinda Glenn, Endangered Wildlife Trust. West Bengal forest department recruits canine for anti-poaching operations Sweetie also became the 10th member of the West Bengal forest departments dog squad. When they only need to track down the handler breeds used are: The Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherd, German Shepherd but also hunting breeds like Labrador, Visla, Pointer, Spaniels etc. Three men have been spotted on the conservancy with a rifle and backpack - poachers - hoping for a night-time rhino kill. My favourite breeds are German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherd, Spaniels and Golden Retrievers. And they love having that bond with a handler as well, they need to have purpose”. Dogs have been introduced to anti-poaching units and are proving extremely successful in their contribution to decreases in rhino poaching. And they love having that bond with a handler as well, they need to have a purpose.”. This is the front line of operational Anti Poaching Dog units, not just to deter would be poachers in poaching hot-spots, but to act as sworn protector and defender of a … What breed of dog does Dogs 4 Wildlife use and why? To help fund anti-poaching units such as Pit-Track, you can sponsor a dog. The success of anti-poaching dogs in Kenya is now being replicated across other countries. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Killer was bred by Henry Holthyzen of the Paramount Anti-Poaching and K9 academy based outside Johannesberg. His preferred breeds are German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherd, Spaniels and Golden Retrievers. 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