As they say, dogs are a man’s best friend, but they can also be a best friend to endangered species. The amazing capabilities of dogs as protectors and investigators have been put to the test in countless ways, and we celebrate a few of them here. Click through to find out about amazing dogs protecting penguins, hunting down poachers, and sniffing out scat for scientists.
Bloodhounds Track Poachers
Bloodhounds have been used in Kenya to track down poachers, and with great success. Richard Bonham is the founder of the Maasailand Preservation Trust, an organization that patrols 1.5 million acres of land in southeast Kenya protecting wildlife like rhinos and elephants from poachers. But he couldn’t do it without the aid of these talented sniffers. “The bloodhounds definitely have a big impact on poaching. They are a very effective tool,” he told the Times Online back in 2009 when two new recruits, Pension and Drastic, arrived from Britain in Kenya. The article notes that “Bloodhounds have been responsible for the arrests of dozens of poachers in Kenya, saving countless wild animals.”
Malenois Attack the Poaching Problem
It’s one thing if you’re a poacher to have bloodhounds tracking you down, but what if you had Belgian Malenois trained to attack close on your heels? Hopefully it’s enough to get you to surrender! That’s exactly the hope of conservationists who have trained Malenois to find and take down poachers who are in turn tracking down rhinos, including Jack who is being trained by StopRhinoPoaching.com, and Toby and Russell working in Kruger National Park and Pilansberg National Park respectively. Poachers sometimes work in groups, with armed members of the group lying in wait to ambush any field rangers who try to stop poaching in action. The malenois are important for rangers, acting as both an early warning and distraction against poachers so the rangers a better chance to catch the criminals.