Posts Tagged With: Virunga National Park

Man’s (and now Rhino’s) Best Friend

Bloodhound and ranger in Virunga Nat. Park.

Bloodhound and ranger in Virunga Nat. Park.

With poaching so prevalent, too much space and too little manpower, a different approach is being utilized to stop poachers. Dogs.

In the Congo, an elite canine anti-poaching unit is employed to track down elephant poachers. Specially trained bloodhounds, who require a 2 year training program, have already aided rangers in chasing poachers down. In Virunga National Park, the first instance out they pursued the suspects for 7km.

In South Africa, the Rhino Orphanage is training dogs to help keep track of and protect the baby rhinos; rhino security if you will.  (see: Duma: The Rhino Dog)

In Gabon, dogs are being utilized in the airport to detect illegal wildlife. The program has been quite successful, with the canines finding shark fin and bushmeat in addition to ivory.

Gabon's tracking team works for a tennis ball.

Gabon’s tracking team works for a tennis ball.

Green Dogs Conservation and Congohounds  are two non-profit groups situated in South Africa, specializing in training dogs for anti-poaching and other conservation purposes. Trained similar to police dogs, they are given basic training and aptitude testing, matching the right dog to the right situation.

As Green Dogs points out, 60% of the brain of a dog is devoted to smell. They can detect scents we aren’t even aware of. Congohounds states, bloodhounds can detect a single smell out of 5 million!

Search and rescue dogs have long been trained to find people, landmines, drugs, and even cancer. With their phenomenal sense of smell and high energy, it’s a perfect fit to train them to track and detain poachers.

Duma and Ntombi getting acquainted.

Duma and Ntombi getting acquainted.

 

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