Two Anti-Poaching dogs in training from not-for-profit organisation Dogs 4 Wildlife visited Safari Zoo, Cumbria this week for some animal familiarisation ahead of their future deployment to South Africa.
Kitapo and Dan were joined by Dogs 4 Wildlife Directors Jacqui Law and Darren Priddle, with the two pups meeting a variety of animals at the zoo including several Rhino and Giraffes.
These familiarisation trips are hugely important to get the young dogs in training used to the sights and smells of the endangered wildlife that they will be protecting in the future in South Africa.
Kitapo, a fully trained anti-poaching dog, developed by Dogs4Wildlife, is destined for big things- the protection of White Rhino, 1000’s of Antelope species, Giraffe, Zebra, Buffalo, Leopard, Pangolin and many other species at the 30,000 acre Renosterpan Reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa
Last year, a total of 451 rhino were poached in South Africa. 327 within government reserves and 124 on private property.
Anti-poaching dogs contribute to reducing incidents of poaching by as much as 70%, so the dogs will have a huge part to play in the conservation of rhinos and many other endangered species.
Non-Profit Organisation Dogs 4 Wildlife aims to provide both quality, highly trained dogs and specialised ranger training for the development of anti-poaching canine units, to protect endangered wildlife. Helping to inspire and motivate the next generation of wildlife protectors, through effective and determined education.
Deploying anti-poaching dogs and K9 units is a crucial part of conservation efforts in Africa.
The funding is currently not in place to get Kitapo on her mission but Cumbria Zoo Company have committed to funding Kitapo’s transportation to Renosterpan, a move that Darren explained is so important as Anti-poaching dog Bane (who Kitapo will join in Renosterpan) has eradicated snares and poaching in Ditholo reserve – who were experiencing 10-15 instances of poaching each week -since his deployment in 2020.
Cumbria Zoo formally helped fund Dogs 4 Wildlife Dog Indy and were part of a team of people who helped her get to Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa to work as a bushmeat detection dog. Indy now works as an open area search dog to locate and indicate on cached bush meat and animal carcass.
Co-Director of Jacqui Law, commenting on the trip to Safari Zoo said: “We can’t put in to words how truly grateful we are for the amazing support from Safari Zoo and all the staff and customers.
“ Our visit truly blew us away on how much time, advertising and engagement they have dedicated to Indy and now Kitapo!”
Sam from Cumbria Zoo Company, operators of Safari Zoo said: “We have been honoured to support the development of Indy and to be able to help with Kitapo’s deployment in this way.
“It’s really amazing to meet these little four-legged heroes and humbling to know what an important role they are going to play in the protection of wildlife and ultimately, in securing a long-term future for many species around the world.”
Also joining Jacqui and Darren was 8-month-old puppy Dan, named in honour of Daniel Bridle whose mum Caroline has made it her mission to sponsor an anti-poaching dog in wildlife and Dog-loving Daniel’s memory. Dan is being developed in human scent tracking and apprehension, ready for his future deployment in the fight against poaching.
To help get Kitapo to Renosterpan, please donate via Dogs 4 Wildlife or Safari Zoo