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Anti-Poaching Dogs Help National Park Rangers

Updated on April 17, 2019

German Shepherd anti-poaching assistant


Characteristic of Belgian Melanois dogs

Belgian Melinois are canines that have a history bred for serving man as herding dogs. They are "short-haired, faun-colored, with a black mask." They have many valuable characteristic attributes. They work for the police, guard against poachers in endangered wildlife territories, and welcomed as invaluable pets by the community.

Belgian Melinois characteristics:

  • intelligent
  • athletic
  • intuitively sensitive
  • adapt well to changing weather temperatures
  • affectionate and friendly with family members
  • groom easily
  • maintain personal health well
  • Size: Males are 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder, females are 22 to 24 inches tall
  • they are a great dog to train
  • they have great energy and intensity
  • they love to exercise
  • they are great prey hunters
  • twice a year they undergo a heavy shedding cycle

dogtime. com.

  • Dog Breed Group: herding dogs
  • Height: 1 foot, 10 inches to 2 feet, 2 inches tall at the shoulder
  • Weight: 40 to 80 pounds; females weigh 40 to 60 pounds
  • Life Span: 12 to 14 years

World War I Belgian shepherd dog's military activity:

  • messenger dogs
  • red cross dogs
  • ambulance cart dogs
  • light machine-gun cart dogs

Current events regarding poaching crisis

Paratrooper dogs are released from helicopters to hunt wild animal poachers in South Africa. They benefit endangered elephants and rhinos. Paramount Group, a company that specializes in security technology, trained a strong force of canines to combat illegal hunting.

Killer, a black and tawny brown, Belgian Malinois, leader of poaching dogs, has caught 115 poachers during a four year period, and more than 15 poachers in a six-month period, all arrested, travels over 5 miles of bush terrain, he protects rhinos at Kruger National Park, armed rangers are at the dog’s side. Killer was trained daily by Amos Mzimba, and bred by Henry Holsthyzen from Paramount Anti-Poaching program and K-9 academy. Killer received a gold medal; he is considered an animal hero by United Kingdom vet charity, PDSA (The people's dispensary for sick animals).

Holsthyzen works with a group of 200 canines. He claims 400 canine units are needed to protect several wild animal parks, but only 30 dogs participate in active duty. He introduced the first paratrooper dog to dive down from a helicopter. He jumped out of a helicopter at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria, South Africa.

Rangers use Gladys, a Springer Spaniel, to sniff illegal arms and ammunition, attempting to enter park gates.

South Africa have lost close to a third of their entire elephant population in the last seven years. They have also lost 1200 rhinos multiple times, 2014 and 2015.

National parks seek creative ways to battle animal killing poachers:

  • they hide cameras in rhino horns
  • grow artificial horns in lab
  • genetic sequencing
  • re-location to places like Austrailia
  • use drones to pepper spray them.

Sky diving from helicopters and planes is necessary at Kruger National Park, it contains extensive ground territory, 19,425 square kilometres (7,500 square miles).

Diego, a poaching hunter dog works at the Ol Pejeta Conservatory in Kenya, it provides sanctuary for a single surviving male northern white rhino. Diego has been monitored tracking down a poacher wearing a GoPro attached to his back. He leaps through puddles, hills, fallen trees, and any obstacles that attempt to prevent him from catching a poacher.

Malinois anti-poacher dogs

Belgian Melinois


German Shepherd characteristics

German Shepherds helped rescue officers locate victims of the World Trade Center' 9/11 terrorist attack. American breeders import them from Germany to use them in their breeding programs, because they are considered higher-quality breeding dogs from their native country.

Working service

  • paratrooper anti-poaching dog
  • assists police and military
  • assists search and rescue
  • drug detection
  • assists handicapped people
  • herding
  • watchdog

World War I

  • Red Cross dog
  • messenger
  • rescuer
  • guard
  • supply carrier
  • sentry

The American Kennel Club was impressed with German Shepherds' physical abilities, but disliked its German roots, and changed the dog's name to Shepherd dog, 1917, but restored its original name, 1931.


  • Dog breed group: herding dog
  • Great Britain names him Alsatian dog
  • Size: males stand 24-26 inches; females stand 22-24 inches
  • Height: 1 foot, 10 inches to 2 feet, 2 inches tall at the shoulder
  • Weight: 75-95 pounds
  • Life Span: 10-14 years

Coat types:

  • long-hair
  • double coat of medium length

The German Shepherd's coat is dense, its straight hair compresses the body, it can be wavy or wiry.

Color patterns:

  • black and cream
  • black and red
  • black and silver
  • black and tan

Other colors:

  • blue
  • gray
  • liver
  • sable
  • white

German Shepherds are energetic and need regular exercise, discipline training, they're suspicious of strangers, faithful companions, shed often, and need early socialization with environment and different kinds of people.

Training English foxhounds

English Foxhounds are trained by park rangers to hunt people and ammunition instead of prey animals. The dogs are trained by wearing a training collar. If an English Foxhound pursues a rabbit, a warning sound is triggered and it receives a mild electrical shock to discourage interest in small game. The rangers like their English Foxhounds to develop their natural instincts early and put three to four month-old puppies with the pack. Six months are taken to train an English Foxhound at an expense of R60,000 per hound.

Hunting dog's shock collar

Shock collars emit a mild electrical shock that trains dogs to avoid certain animals and focus on a trained target.
Shock collars emit a mild electrical shock that trains dogs to avoid certain animals and focus on a trained target. | Source


April 2, 2012, South African National Parks(SANparks) gave their honorary rangers assistance from three foxhounds: Kombi, Jetta, and Chico. The act was an effort to protect rhinos and protect their field rangers from dangerous armed poachers. Foxhounds have ability to uncover an illegal poaching act quickly and follow a poacher’s scent immediately. Three canines achieved a 90% success rate tracking down people. Foxhounds are expected to prevent wildlife violators from evading park rangers. They will also help rangers seize wildlife contraband such as rhino horns, animal skins, and bush meat.

Three furry female foxhounds were named after Volkswagen models in celebration of Unitrans Automotive Volkswagen and Audi divisions. Automotive corporations funded the foxhound program. The trio of foxhounds were trained in March, and worked with their handlers, experiencing exposure to wild animals, the wilderness, and potential conflicting situations. The dogs worked at Kruger National Park.

2015, South Africa lost 1,175 rhinos because poachers killed them for their horns. Kruger National Park lost 826 of them. Park ranger, Richard Sowry claimed English Foxhounds and American blue tick coonhounds helped KNP arrest 23 poachers and helped them seize 11 firearms. English foxhounds strong sniffing ability tracks the spoors of poachers.

Attack dogs save African wildlife

Richard Sowry quote about English foxhounds

“The adrenalin of the hunt drives them – this is their strongest instinct. The dogs love it, because they simply wouldn’t track if they didn’t enjoy it.”

English Foxhound


Hunted by bloodhounds - Kenya expedition- earth unplugged

Sniffer dogs

The Endangered Wildlife Trust trained sniffer dogs to discover an assortment of protected wildlife contraband. Rhino horns, elephant ivory tusks, and leopard skins, are smuggled across boarders by invading poachers. Bloodhounds compile an impressive tracking record; they help police track down dead bodies and narcotics. Their sense of smell is 400 times more powerful than humans. Their high level of aggression and strong working drive are attributes that classify them as excellent protection dogs.

Olfactory senses of hunting dogs help them find poachers in endangered conservation areas. Sniffer dogs help park rangers track down guns, ammunition, and spent bullet casings. Dogs hunt poachers at night; poachers prefer to target wildlife late evening. Field rangers order dogs to attack on command. Poachers are inclined to avoid invading areas where sniffer dogs are present.

South African’s Bloodhounds are prized for their tracking ability. They work in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are a couple of negative aspects about bloodhounds:

  • large heavy weight of bloodhounds makes it difficult for them to tolerate severe hot weather.
  • bloodhounds are prone to ear infections

Virunga National Park Rangers patrol wildlife areas armed with AK-47's to protect themselves and the animals. But they need powerful help tracking dangerous poachers. techniques. Blood hounds are able to track a scent for up to 300 hours. The accuracy of their tracking ability is trusted by a court of law; bloodhound findings, human or physical objects, are accepted as solid evidence.

Bloodhounds continue to assist rangers track down poachers from scenting dead animals and then tracking down poachers, but saving elephants because of their ivory tusk always poses a major challenge.

Bullet-proof-vest protect canines

Anti-poaching organizations are developing a light-weight bullet-proof-vest to protect their hounds, including a gel that helps regulate dog's body temperature.
Anti-poaching organizations are developing a light-weight bullet-proof-vest to protect their hounds, including a gel that helps regulate dog's body temperature. | Source

Anti-poaching dogs

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Conservation Academies

K-9 Conservation uses trained dogs in conservation areas and national parks. They help protect wildlife species from illegal hunting and poaching teams. Dogs are carefully conditioned with extensive on-the-job training from field rangers. The K-9 units adapt to any terrain surface, are capable of working during any time, and capable of working for extended hours.

K-9 dog training have instructional schools at Monterey Park, California, and Indiana.

K-9 Conservation supports a student training program for four individuals at a time. Field rangers trained veterinary and conservation students at KZN North Coast or Mpumalanga, South Africa. Animal Jobs Direct also offers people an opportunity to learn two-week dog training that includes anti poaching. Accepted applicants help train dogs on a game farm in South African Botswana and Zimbabwe. Both organizations offer additional information about several dog training programs. Dog training programs are also offered at the Braveheart Bio-Dog Academy.

The Canine Training Academy of Colorado helped strengthen the Ngiro-are Outpost by the Tanzanian border. The goal was to improve their security against wildlife poaching. Linda Porter and John Lutenberg trained two bloodhound dogs to guard their boarders, June, 2009. Rustlers were continuously stealing cattle and taking them across the border. Wildebeast, zebra, and Thompson Gazelles, were regularly killed for bush meat around the Mara Triangle. The reserves experienced problems with poaching snares in 2008, lions and elephants were killed by them. Hunters used spears, bows and arrows to kill hippos and leopards.

Bloodhounds in action



National park rangers employ a variety of hunting dogs to help them protect endangered wildlife in the forest. They dedicate many hours training sniffing dogs with the best training techniques possible, including crime scene investigation. Paratroop hunting with dogs, shock collars, go-pro monitoring devices, and specialized dog vests, are developing innovations that help rangers achieve relevant results.


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    • rebelogilbert profile imageAUTHOR

      Gilbert Arevalo 

      3 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Training of hunting dogs are specifically targeted around National Parks such as Africa, Bill. I think dogs aiding injured veterans returning back from places such as Afghanistan probably get more news coverage. I'm glad you learned something from looking at my article. Those anti-poaching dogs certainly help rangers hunt for ivory hunters in a dangerous world.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly I did not know this, but it sure makes sense. Thanks for the information. Very interesting!

    • rebelogilbert profile imageAUTHOR

      Gilbert Arevalo 

      3 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Thank you for taking an interest in this article, Mel.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      3 years ago from San Diego California

      Bravo for these brave dogs fighting at the front lines to preserve this global treasure. This is why canine abuse offends me so much, because these dogs are always willing to take a bullet for us or do things that we are incapable of doing. Great hub.

    • rebelogilbert profile imageAUTHOR

      Gilbert Arevalo 

      3 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

      Thanks for reading it, Larry. I appreciate your support.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Cool read!


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