The Southern African Wildlife College recently welcomed a pack of anti-poaching dogs all the way from Texas and within their first week, the nabbed a poacher.
A pack of anti-poaching dogs from Texas have apprehended their first poaching suspect in South Africa. The dogs were flown in as part a new counter-poaching unit at the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC). These specially trained, free-running pack dogs are joining a highly motivated K9 Unit already established at the SAWC.
They were recently taken out on their first live run and apprehended a poaching suspect. They are still settling in and once they become accustomed to their new handlers, they will be deployed in counter-poaching operations throughout the Greater Kruger area.
“We are incredibly excited to be working with these dogs. Our early successes with free-running pack dogs have shown us how effective they are in the field. These dogs are also trained in apprehension work and will actively help rangers stop poachers in their tracks,” said the College CEO, Theresa Sowry.
Free-running packs are new to South Africa, the standard one dog on a lead is still highly successful, take a look at the incredible Annie’s story here. However, free-running packs offer a different method, they can track at high speeds over difficult terrain. During recent exercises, the packs have covered over 30 kilometers in two hours.
The pack can run at 40 kilometers per hour. This means rangers must use aerial support to follow the dogs. Their speed allows rangers to catch up valuable time in the field when poachers are on the run.
The reason these dogs were brought in from Texas was that they come from a long line of tracking dogs, trained specifically to track human scent. The dogs are used in law inforcement across the USA and have a very high success rate.
“They come from a lineage which have been bred to track humans for law enforcement purposes… [they] have been specially bred over decades in the USA to follow a scent laid by humans.” – The Southern African Wildlife College
These new packs are sure to stop poachers in their tracks! We will keep you posted on any developments.