18
Jun-2020

Puppy to protector, meet the new counter-poaching dogs

Canine counter-poaching units are highly effective, thanks to the help of these four-legged warriors working to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable animals across Africa.

Counter-poaching initiative, Soldiers For Wildlife, recognises this and has moved to add a K9 Unit to its operations. Later this month, the organisation will welcome four adorable Belgian Malinois puppies to the team. While these puppies will look all soft and cuddly now, these dogs will soon go through months of extensive training in the field to prepare them as elite counter-poaching weapons.

Soldiers For Wildlife has partnered with Dogs 4 Wildlife, a UK based non-profit organisation dedicated to supplying trained canines to the field of worthy counter-poaching initiatives in Africa and across the world. These dogs are game changers in the counter-poaching sector, as they are able to track poachers much faster than the human eye and make it possible to track at high speeds even under the cover of darkness when most of the poaching incidents occur.

Dogs in the field

Soldiers For Wildlife founder, John Garcia, has already personally met and worked with some of the Dogs 4 Wildlife dogs currently in the field and found their work outstanding.

“These pups will be on the front lines everyday with our best rangers, tracking down poaching activity and keeping our wildlife safe,” John Garcia explained.

“Canines in the field are extremely effective in the fight against poachers. Their sense of smell can catch on to an unwanted visitor whose scent is almost three hours old. Most poaching incidents happen at night and these dogs make it possible to track under the cover of darkness at a running pace.” 

John Garcia

“As the Soldiers For Wildlife Kyalala Conservancy is in the heart of the most poached region in Zambia, with an area that expands over 70,000 hectares, a dog team will change the game for us. I have personally met some of the dogs this team has trained among great counter-poaching units and they are phenomenal specimens and extremely disciplined.”

“All the funds raised in sponsoring these pups will go directly towards this project. We would be extremely grateful if you can help us achieve our goal to bring these game changers out to us on the front lines to join the Soldiers For Wildlife team,” John Garcia added.

“Animals protecting animals, does it get any better than that?”

John Garcia

The new litter of puppies are expected to be born June, 2020. As the pups grow older, they will be put through extensive training for counter-poaching and are even introduced at close range to wildlife in local zoos to further prepare them for Africa.

The dogs are expected to arrive in Zambia in the second quarter of 2021, where they will go through further training in the field with the Soldiers For Wildlife Scouts on an intense two week course. After completion of this, both dogs and Scouts will graduate training.

Sponsor a dog

Training a counter-poaching dog does not come cheap, with costs for training, veterinary bills, food costs, housing and shipment adding up to well over $12,000USD per dog. Soldiers For Wildlife will secure four dogs to join the team to start with and are seeking sponsorship to help with the costs.

Donations of any size are welcomed and updates on the progression of the puppies training can be found on the dedicated page on the Soldiers For Wildlife website – https://www.soldiersforwildlife.org/sponsor-a-puppy

Sponsors who take out a full sponsorship of a puppy on his path to fully trained dog (totalling $12,500USD), will get to name the dog, keep updated with the dog’s progress and have the opportunity to come visit the conservancy in Zambia to meet the team and get out on the ground with the dog to see them in action during routine training. Ongoing yearly cost per dog is estimated at USD$5,000 for food, veterinary care and any ongoing expenses.

Read more about what Soldiers For Wildlife do with this one on one chat with founder, John Garcia.

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