Tracking dogs have shown their worth in the ongoing fight aginst rhino poachers in South Africa. So much so that the Kruger National Park (KNP) has now included five tracking dogs as part of their patrols and operations.
The dogs underwent 10 weeks intensive training where they were introduced to the bush, learnt how to track human scent, to protect team members, sniff down rhino horn and detect ammunitions from the poachers.
They were deployed to the ranger units at Malelane, Letaba, Houtboschrand, Mahlangeni and Woodlands under the guidance of the filed rangers who were trained as dog handlers.
Speaking at the pass-out parade on October 23, 2012, the head of public relations and communication, William Mabasa emphasised the importance of collective efforts in the fight against rhino poaching.
"We are doing everything in our ability as SANParks to stop this pandemic that we are currently facing as a country. The introduction of these dogs to our anti-rhino poaching unit is one of efforts that we are putting in place. We hope that our rangers will put them (dogs) to good use," said Mabasa.
The Rhino Dogs Project, it is a joint initiative driven by MECHEM, StopRhinoPoaching.com Jacaranda FM with M-net's The Wild and The Parlotones. These entities raised funds to cover the costs of this training and identified the KNP as worthy beneficiary.
Tracker Dog Stolen
Ten year old tracker dog Jack, a German short-haired pointer who was trained in Germany to track poachers, has been stolen along with his owner's vehicle on 21 September 2014 at Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria.
Jack stayed in the vehicle while his owner, Kobus Greef, and family went into the mall.
The police have been notified on Jack's disappearance. Meanwhile, Greef and others have searched for Jack at veterinary clinics to see if the thieves dropped him of there. So far their search has been unsuccessful.
Greef is from Pongola in KwaZulu-Natal and visited Pretoria to celebrate his birthday.
"Kobus is devastated. He is still in Pretoria. He says he can't leave here without Jack," Selomie Maritz, founder of the Palala sanctuary, said.
Video footage from the cameras at the mall shows the bakkie leaving the mall, but the identity of the thieves are still unknown.