For #thisWeekinWelfare: Animals saving animals – anti-poaching dogs.
Animals Saving Animals was founded in 2016 and trains and provides anti-poaching dogs to conservation organizations across the world.
Dogs are, in their nature, effective hunters. They have a great sense of smell, and are fast. In favourable conditions dogs can alert rangers to the presence of a poacher up to one kilometre away. This means anti-poaching teams are now much better equipped to track at night, and cover greater ground too. There is no technology that could work better.
Dogs are required to undergo an intensive training programme before eventual deployment into the field. Teaching commences at twelve weeks old, with environmental training and socialisation with other dogs.
As dogs progress, tracking, bite work and firearms searches are introduced, followed by tactical training, which includes working under gunfire or smoke grenades. At a year old they are moved to their new conservancy or national park where they are teamed with their new handlers. Here they receive a further six months operational training before beginning life as an anti-poaching patrol dog. When eventual retirement comes, the dogs stay on the conservancies and generally remain with their handlers.
The most trained breed is Belgian Malinois, which is known for its hardiness in extreme conditions, its intelligence, high energy and speed.
Using their amazing sense of smell – which is more than 10,000 times stronger than a human’s – to locate the ammunition, they manage to sniff out the target in a matter of minutes.
Wildlife poaching has grave consequences for targeted species and their habitats and this illegal activity negatively affects ecosystems, our health and prosperity of local communities.
There is just one goal to reach: #endpoaching.