Trained Dog Unit Employed To Protect Wild Animals From Poachers Has Saved 45 Rhinos During Lockdown

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Trained Dog Unit Employed To Protect Wild Animals From Poachers Has Saved 45 Rhinos During Lockdown

With huge swathes of the world in lockdown, it is unfortunately the case that many criminals are still hard at work, taking advantage of people’s lack of attention due to the distractions of the ongoing crisis – with reports of mafias in Italy and elsewhere taking advantage of the situation in order to make a profit. One area of criminality that is unfortunately still rife is the illegal poaching trade.


Poachers, knowing that nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries are far less busy, are using the lockdown to kill as many innocent animals as possible so that they can sell their body parts for ornaments and medicine and according to ITV 9 rhinos have been killed in South Africa since March.



These crooks see a huge profit to be made from the rhinos as a single horn can fetch between $100,000 to $350,000 dollars per horn once they are removed from the animals and shipped, primarily to Vietnam and China.


They aren’t getting away with all of it though, as a team of highly trained dog units have been pursuing them and stopping them in their tracks. These dogs are trained from birth to work as anti-poaching dogs by tracking the scent of humans, tracing them over long distances and even apprehending suspects before they can harm any animals. The dogs include Belgian Malinois, Blue Ticks, Beagles, Bloodhounds, Foxhounds, and Texan Black-and-Tan Coonhounds who start working at around 18 months old - after extensive training.


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It is estimated, according to the National Geographic, that prior to the dogs entering the team that only 3 to 5 per cent of poachers were caught, but now that has reached a staggering 54 per cent. This means now that most poachers are getting caught. If working by the previous years statistics and comparing them to today the Daily Mail estimates that 45 rhinos have been saved since the dogs were introduced - which is great news for rhinos!



Johan van Straaten, the dog master at the SAWC’s 9 unit, explained:
“The data we collect for this applied learning project, aimed at informing best practice, shows we have prevented approximately 45 rhinos being killed since the free tracking dogs became operational in February 2018 … In the areas where the Southern African Wildlife College patrol, the success rate of the dogs is around 68 percent using both on and off leash free tracking dogs, compared to between three to five percent with no canine capacity.”



Over 80% of the world’s rhinos now reside in South Africa, around 29,000, and it is thought as many as 8,000 have been lost to poaching in the last ten years. This means that the noble hounds really are required to take the fight back to the evil animal trade.



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Thinking Humanity: Trained Dog Unit Employed To Protect Wild Animals From Poachers Has Saved 45 Rhinos During Lockdown
Trained Dog Unit Employed To Protect Wild Animals From Poachers Has Saved 45 Rhinos During Lockdown
With huge swathes of the world in lockdown, it is unfortunately the case that many criminals are still hard at work, taking advantage of people’s lack of attention due to the distractions of the ongoing crisis – with reports of mafias in Italy and elsewhere taking advantage of the situation in order to make a profit. One area of criminality that is unfortunately still rife is the illegal poaching trade.
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