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Media Release: Tracking dogs to intensify KNP's rangers' fight against poaching

Date: 23rd October 2012

In a bid to intensify the fight against rhino poaching, the Kruger National Park (KNP) has inaugurated five tracking dogs today, (23 October 2012) as part of the Rhino Dogs Project to assist with patrols and operations. The dogs underwent 10 weeks of intensive training where they were introduced to the bush, learnt how to track human scent, trained how to protect team members, smell out rhino horn and detect ammunitions from the poachers.

The project is aimed at strengthening  the KNP’s anti-rhino poaching unit. These dogs will be placed under the guidance of Field Rangers who were trained as dog handlers. They will be deployed at Malelane, Letaba, Houtboschrand, Mahlangeni and Woodlands.

Speaking at the pass-out parade, the Head of Public Relations and Communication, Mr 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 (the dogs) to good use” said Mabasa.

The Rhino Dogs Project, is a joint initiative driven by MECHEM, StopRhinoPoaching.com, Jacaranda FM, M-net’s The Wild and The Parlotones. These entities raised funds to cover the costs of this training and identified the KNP as a worthy beneficiary.

“To end this fight, it will take everybody in the country to stand up against rhino poaching. Let us all do something to assist the rangers” concluded Mabasa.

Tracking dogs for KNP rangers
Clockwise: Mr Jimmy Hlongwane with his dog Aspo, Mncedisi Nkolongo handler of Bud, Patrick Lubambo handler of Ally, Solly Mathonse handler of Amunza, Rickson Mathebula handler of Akita, James Shibambu handler of Ice. All the dogs (except Bud) joined the Kruger National Park anti-rhino poaching unit.

Anti rhino poaching tracking dog
Freek Venter (HOD: Conservation management; KNP) congratulates Mr Jimmy Hlongwane (Dog handler) and his dog Aspor at the pass-out parade in Skukuza. Aspor was awarded the best dog on the day.

Issued by:
Public Relations Department,
Kruger National Park,
SANParks

Enquiries:
William Mabasa
HOD: Public Relations and Communication
Kruger National Park
Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or
email: william.mabasa@sanparks.org

 

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