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Four-legged anti-poaching devices save 45 rhinos

A pack of dogs specifically trained to ward off and apprehend poachers has saved 45 rhinos from being killed, according to Kruger wardens.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 19/05/2020, 12:00

Last month, a group of highly-trained dogs patrolling Greater Kruger National Park thwarted the plans of poachers who are intent on wiping out the park’s endangered rhino population.

 

‘Trainer Johan Van Straaten releases Texan black-and-tan coonhounds on an exercise in Kruger. These dogs are descended...

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Writes The Mail Online, the breeds of dog include a Texan Black-and-Tan Coonhound, Belgian Malinois, Foxhound and Blue Tick.

Highly trained

Each is trained in the arts of free tracking, incursion, detection, patrol and apprehension dogs. The dogs’ speed over the ground is an advantage in their daily activities, and their skills of tracking and apprehension are much sought after.

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According to Johan van Straaten, a K9 trainer at the Southern African Wildlife College in Kruger, the dogs are thought to have saved 45 rhinos this year alone. The rate of success of the dogs is a little under 70%.

 

When not engaged in live operations in Kruger, the hounds are taken on training runs to keep them fit and sharp. Here,...

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594 rhinos were killed in the park last year, with most being poached for their ivory tusks. Although that figure constitutes a year-on-year drop in the number of deaths since 2014, the fight is still ongoing.

Van Straaten hopes to continue his work with the dogs well into the future.