K9 Watchdog National Project
The new K9 national project manages all canine related Honorary Ranger activity in our national parks.
Poaching in our national parks remains a major conservation challenge in South Africa. The K9 Anti-Poaching Unit is considered a game changer for anti-poaching initiatives in the Kruger National Park. During 2017, all encounters with poachers that involved dogs resulted in arrests.
Well-trained dogs such as the Bloodhound, Belgian Shepherd, or Malinois, breeds are perfectly suited to track poachers in the field and detect firearms, ammunition and wildlife products that enter and exit through park gates. These remarkable dogs can follow an hours-old scent over impressive distances.
A well-trained dog and its handler are powerful weapons against wildlife crime. Dogs use their superior senses of smell, hearing, eyesight and agility to sense and do things that people can’t. As poachers become more lethally armed, dogs provide vital early warning and safety systems for rangers and handlers. Their keen sense of smell and ability to track over long distances for up to 48 hours make them invaluable additions to anti-poaching programs
Tracker dogs are deployed by helicopter or vehicle and operate throughout the Park. 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.
An integral contributor to the success of this unit is the support of the SANParks Honorary Rangers.
PROJECT WATCHDOG NEEDS YOUR HELP.
Vaccinations, preventative medicines, optimum pet nutrition and safe, secure kennelling are paramount in ensuring a long and healthy life for these animals.
Donations to ‘Project Watchdog’ go towards looking after these dogs and making sure they receive care of the highest possible standard in support of the vital work they do.
Already, the project has achieved enormous success. The dogs not only provide the Rangers with a loyal friend and companion, but with the benefits of their incredible scenting ability. Wherever they operate, the poaching figures drop and the arrest rate rises.