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Trained Dogs in South Africa Saved 45 Rhinos from Poaching




  • Both small and big dogs are included in the training.
  • The free tracking dogs were able to track at speeds much faster than a human can.
  • More than 8,000 rhinos have perished due to poaching.

In South Africa, a group of dogs have been specifically trained as wildlife protectors. The group is composed of dogs varying from beagle to bloodhound, and they already prevented 45 rhinos from being poached.

These dogs have been trained since birth and when they reach 18 months old, the real work begins. Sean Viljoen, owner of Conservation Film Company, shared photos of the dogs doing their jobs at Greater Kruger National Park’s Southern African Wildlife College .

According to ‘K9 Master’ Johan van Straaten, the data they gathered from the project shows that the dogs were able to save approximately 45 rhinos from being killed since they began operations in February 2018.

The dogs started training from birth and get to do real work at 18 months old.

He added that the success rate of the dogs is around 68 percent in the areas being patrolled by the Southern African Wildlife College.

Both on and off-leash free tracking dogs were used in the project.

The free tracking dogs were able to track at speeds much faster than a human can, which the team described as a real “game changer.”

“As such, the project is helping ensure the survival of southern Africa’s rich biodiversity and its wildlife including its rhino which have been severely impacted by wildlife crime. South Africa holds nearly 80 percent of the world’s rhinos,” Van Straaten said.

He also added that more than 8,000 rhinos have perished due to poaching which South Africa the hardest hit by the illegal activity.

The dogs are trained to carry out “benefit required counter poaching initiatives.” These include free tracking, detection, incursion, patrol and apprehension dogs.

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