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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tracker dogs boost anti-poaching patrols




TRACKER DOGS BOOST ANTI-POACHING INITIATIVES AT &BEYOND PHINDA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
May 2013


In yet another innovative move aimed at promoting the preservation of Africa's precious wildlife areas and their inhabitants, five specially selected dogs and their handlers arrived at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa on 1 May 2013 to begin an intensive ten-week training course. 

Part of the Rhino Dogs Project established by Mechem Denel and StopRhinoPoaching.com, the canines will be trained as human tracking and apprehension dogs. Used in anti-poaching efforts, the dogs' role is to track and warn of suspected poachers, as well as to locate any potential evidence left behind by suspects. The dogs will be trained to locate poachers by following their trail, as well as to detect and locate weapons or rhino horn hidden in the bush. 

While the training is being funded by StopRhinoPoaching.com, which supports individuals or organisations with large, viable rhino populations who work towards the goals of conservation, &Beyond Phinda has sponsored accommodation for the handlers for the duration of the course.  

Once the training is complete, two of the dogs, sponsored by Jenna Clifford and the 'I Make a Difference' campaign respectively, will remain at &Beyond Phinda. The other three will be deployed to game reserves in Swaziland and to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in Mpumalanga.


Two members of the security team contracted by &Beyond Phinda, the Nyathi Anti-Poaching Unit, have been chosen to train as dog handlers. Selected for their dedication to stopping the scourge of poaching, as well as their willingness to act at the forefront of anti-poaching operations, the handlers will form a cohesive unit with their animals, providing yet another boost to the reserve's protective measures.

&Beyond is committed to rhino conservation and has played an integral and ongoing role in the protection of the now endangered species over the past 22 years. With rhino poaching at an all-time high, &Beyond continues to do all it can to protect Africa's natural heritage. In addition to donating some of its rhino for translocation, &Beyond regularly contributes to the preservation of this species through many other important initiatives.


&Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is a founding member of Project Rhino KZN, which ensures that the necessary security measures are in place in the province. In addition to a rhino notching and identification programme &Beyond Phinda has implemented several other protective measures, including increased security, ranger patrols, aerial patrols, watch towers and CCTV cameras. The reserve regularly shares information and coordinates security measures with neighbouring game parks. Most

importantly, &Beyond continues to create much-needed awareness of the plight of the rhino among its guests, as well as fostering positive relationships and building trust with the communities surrounding its game reserves.



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