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Sat Dec 20 23:32:53 SAST 2014

Singita uses tracker dogs to hunt poachers

Travel Weekly | 25 February, 2013 16:05
Tracker Bongani Toto and Assegai during a training session at Singita
Image by: Singita

Safari company Singita has deployed tracker dogs in its Sabi Sand reserve in an attempt to deter poachers. The dogs are being supplied by K9 Conservation, a firm specialising in anti-poaching tactics.

The breeds to be used include Weimaraners, which have a natural instinct to hunt and will be able to track injured animals and humans who have stepped in animal remains; and Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds, which are good at detecting humans, firearms, explosives and spent cartridges. The dogs patrol every day and night. Animal population numbers are closely watched and any unusual animal movements are reported immediately.

Singita guide Mark Broodryk said the biggest advantage of using dogs was that their presence seemed to deter poachers. “Once trained dogs are deployed into an area, the news quickly spreads amongst poachers and criminal syndicates, and the level and frequency of poaching incidents and related crime is shown to drop dramatically.”

Singita decided to deploy its own dedicated “in-house” anti-poaching unit following poaching incidents in the Sabi Sand earlier this year. The company reckons the model could be successful in other wildlife conservation areas.

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