K9 Project Watch Dog

May 27, 2019

Project Watchdog is an initiative of the SANParks Honorary Rangers that has been in operation for the past 7 years. Up until the end of 2018 it was only operational in the Kruger National Park. As of the 28th November 2018, it officially became what is termed a National Project (NP). The project with the new designation of NP means that it is now able to operate officially in all SANParks reserves that have Canines operating in them.

The initiative began as a way to to combat and prevent the increase in rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park (KNP), by training dogs to track poachers in the field, detect firearms & ammunition and wildlife products that may enter or exit through the KNP. In 2012 the first 3 Belgium Malinois were placed in KNP and by the end of 2018 the KNP had 60 Dogs. This lead to a need for a Training Centre in KNP which was funded through donors, the US Embassy, Buffet Foundation & Peace Parks Foundation, The aim of the K9 centre is to bring dogs back for re –training & evaluation, and certification, to offer general support of K9 in Kruger and finally to act as Anti-Poaching Reaction from the unit to Ranger Sections to assist in rhino poaching operations.The centre is managed Mr. Johan de Beer who is the K9 Manager in KNP.

In 2015 the SANParks Honorary Rangers (SHR) were asked to adopt the centre. This adoption of the centre meant that the SHR assisted and supported SANParks in the running of K9 Centre. With Project Watchdog becoming national as of the end of 2018, this means that the reach of K9 Project Watchdog National Project (K9PWNP) will include all the other parks that have Canines in their parks. Included in the 60 dogs in KNP the following SANParks National Parks will be included into K9PWNP. These parks are included due to them being rhino parks and areas where visitor safety is required.

  • Addo Elephant National Park
  • Karoo National Park
  • Mapungubwe National Park
  • Marakele National Park
  • Makola National Park
  • Mountain Zebra National Park
  • Table Mountain National Park

The inclusion of these 7 additional parks into the K9PWNP means that the project now has a further 25 Canines. This brings the total number of canines in the project to 85. These working dogs in SANParks are contributing immensely to anti-poaching operations and is a game changer with 90% of all captures of poachers related to the K9 and its handler. This is a huge benefit to the rhino and elephant conservation effort. Contact connect@honoraryrangers.org or click here: http://bit.ly/2wlbvbN to find out how you can help.

[Image taken from SANParks Volunteers.org website.]

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