Did you know that the Kruger National Park runs a special programme called Watchdog? That there are projects such as Dogs 4 Wildilfe who train and fully support specialist anti-poaching dogs in National Parks across Southern Africa and parks in need worldwide.
KNP’s Project Watchdog
This project makes use of Bloodhounds, Malinois, Foxhounds and Blue Ticks (commonly known as Coonhounds). Bloodhounds are legendary for their ability to pick up and follow scent trails and are used for cold scents and man tracking. Coonhounds and Foxhounds are similar in energy, stamina and drive of the Malinois, with close to the scent ability of the Bloodhound and are often used in packs of 3 to 4 dogs. The Malinois are specifically used in a more reactionary capacity, when a scent is younger than 3 hours old. All 4 breeds are perfectly suited to track poachers in the field and detect firearms, ammunition and wildlife products that enter and exit through park gates. Not only are these brave and amazing dogs able to follow an hours-old scent but they are able to do so covering impressive distances. According to their website, “Since its inception in 2012, the K9 anti-poaching Unit in the Kruger National Park has grown from 3 to 55 dogs. Because of its success, the project has been extended to other National Parks, with a total of 75 dogs now working across the country.”
Dogs 4 Wildlife
This project is UK based, and focuses on providing a one stop anti-poaching solution form providing extensively trained K9s with full support to additional advanced ranger training programmes, specialist equipment and technology, community empowerment projects as well as volunteer support programmes.
Run by a highly experienced team of knowledgeable, dedicated animal lovers with a commitment to wildlife conservation, they currently have 12 operational dogs across 4 Southern African countries, with their K9’s having helped to achieve up to a 75% reduction in poaching numbers.
Their training methods are extensive and include exposure to the wildlife that the K9 is going to be exposed to in their deployment. This is vital to ensure that the K9s ability to focus on the job at hand is not derailed by strange sights, sounds and smells.
Dog 4 Wildlife Projects (a few of them)
- Project Murwi – Dutch Shepherd Murwi is sworn to protect White and Black Rhino breeding programme in Zimbabwe
- Project Shinga – Malinois Shinga works with Muri and was gifted to Imire to protect the White and Black Rhino breeding programme in Zimbabwe
- Project Bane – Malinois Bane is the protector of Renosterpan and Ditholo Game Reserves in SOuth Africa
- Project Kitapo – Malinois Kitapo will shortly be delpoyed to Renosterpan Reserve to provide support for team member Bane.
- Project Kal – Kal is a Malinois who has been gifted to the IFPCP who work with Project Rhino in Kwazulu Natal
- Project Indwe – Springer Spaniel Indy has been deployed to Mankwe Game Reserve as a “Bush Meat” detection dog.
Trained to handle everything from protection to man work, gun fire to wildlife and even helicopter rides, they really are heroes of the African bush. Should you wish to support these projects , or read more about them, follow the links below: