At the Kruger National Park in South Africa, a pack of dogs have been trained to protect wildlife from poachers. The dogs who begin working at 18-months of age have already saved 45 rhinos from poachers.
According to the Southern African Wildlife College in Cape Town, the dogs are trained practically from birth and include breeds from beagles to bloodhounds. In addition, there are Coonhounds, Belgian Malinois, Foxhounds and Blue Ticks. At six-months of age, their formal training begins, and they love it. The dogs are socialized, taught basic commands and learn how to patrol and apprehend poachers.
The dogs are descended from a hundred-year bloodline of free-running hounds bred by trainers in Texas to follow and apprehend escaping convicts. Sean Viljoen, who is based in Cape Town shared the photos of the dogs.
“The data we collect for this applied learning project aimed at informing best practice, shows we have prevented approximately 45 rhino being killed since the free tracking dogs became operational in February 2018,” stated Johan van Straaten, one of the dog trainers.
The dogs are able to track poachers much faster than any humans can, and their participation in the survival of wildlife including the rhino has made a large impact on wildlife crime. South Africa holds nearly 80% of the world’s rhino population, and the poaching has resulted in more than 8,000 rhino deaths.
(Photos by Sean Viljoen via screenshots Southern African Wildlife College FB)
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