Photo Credit: The Endangered Wildlife Trust

Pirate has become a Conservation Canine with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, overcoming a very heartbreaking past to become a hero.


South Africa (17 March 2021) – Strong, highly trained, and effective, the EWT’s Conservation Canines are at the frontlines in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade, and humans and wildlife alike benefit from the critical roles they play in EWT’s work. If you haven’t seen our impressive canines in action, follow this link. However, while you may not think it to look at them, not all of these dogs have had an easy start in life.

This story is about a unique dog who fought against all odds to become one of these canine heroes from the day he was born.

Pirate, a Belgian Malinois born in 2018, had a heartbreaking start to life. The little pup was found abandoned, less than ten weeks old, with a broken leg and battling Parvovirus, a deadly and highly contagious disease that had already taken the lives of all of his siblings. When he was found weak from illness and in pain, Pirate’s caring veterinarian adopted him, recognising in him the fighting spirit and enthusiasm of a Conservation Canine. Pirate survived his illness, and his leg healed, leaving him with only a slight limp and the fond name that came with it. When he started his training, Pirate took to obedience and detection work with vigour, but it was during tracking exercises that he really came alive, showing such enthusiasm, focus, and natural ability that it was clear that this was what he was born to do.

In March 2021, only a couple of years after his shaky start, Pirate and his handler Shay Seebran were put to the test to qualify as a certified tracking team. The 2.5 km assessment track was longer and the scent older than any Pirate had followed before, yet he forged ahead through the rugged terrain and gave an excellent proximity alert about 50 meters before the end of the track. Victorious, Pirate and Shay qualified and, with your support, are ready to hit the ground running and stop poachers in their tracks!

We are so proud of our brave “underdog” for coming out on top, despite the physical challenges he endured as a pup, and he is an inspiration to us all to take hurdles in our stride and keep fighting the good fight against the trade of illegal wildlife. To support Pirate and his teammates and the vital work they do, please donate here.

Thank you to our sponsors: Tourvest, Royal Canin, Boehringer-Ingelheim, and Katie Roberts, and our partners, the Genesis K9 Group, for making this work possible.

How to Donate

  • For South African Rands donations and the receipt of a tax-deductible certificate, click here
  • US Dollar donations and to receive a tax-deductible certificate, click here

To get involved or learn more about the Wildlife in Trade Programme, please follow this link or contact the programme manager, Dr Andrew Taylor, at andrewt@ewt.org.za.

A sincere thank you for your continued support of the EWT and for helping us to protect forever, together.

Or donate by EFT:
Account name: The Endangered Wildlife Trust
Account number: 503 715 64 219
Bank name: First National Bank
Bank branch: Rosebank
Bank code: 25 33 05
Ref: Dogs

Sources: EWT
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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