Operation: Stop Poaching Now
Over the next few weeks, We will be sharing 10 Ways to Fight Rhino Poaching — detailing diverse solutions you can support to address the poaching crisis.
They’re agile and tenacious. They can’t be bribed, are always true, and work their hearts out for food and affection. Who are these hard-hitting, front-line soldiers in the rhino wars? Rhino dogs!
A well-trained dog and handler team is a powerful weapon against wildlife crime. As any dog owner knows, dogs use their superior senses of smell and hearing, eyesight, and agility to sense and do things that people can’t.
As poachers become more lethally armed, rhino dogs are invaluable early warning and safety systems for rangers and handlers. In many cases, while poachers are cutting off the horn of a downed rhino, the rest of the gang waits to ambush field rangers responding to the incursion. Because dogs and their handlers have such an intense bond, handlers notice every nuanced sign that their dog gives while tracking. Raised hackles or ears can be the first warning that poachers (or rhinos) are nearby.
When contact with poachers is made, the dog can distract the poachers, giving the field rangers an advantage, especially at night when most poaching events occur. ‘Doggedly’ staying on the scent trail, dogs are rarely susceptible to anti-tracking decoys placed by poachers.
Rhino dogs are an integral part of a well-planned anti-poaching defense, complementing boots on the ground, special training and equipment, early warnings and community-based information, investigative and forensic techniques, and other methods.
You can help us get more rhino dogs into the field. IRF is partnering with StopRhinoPoaching.com to provide dogs that will be trained to specialize in tracking poachers by following their scent in the bush, protecting handlers and rangers, detecting ammunition (which poachers often stash prior to a poaching event), and locating the horns of poached rhinos at road blocks and security check points.
The best rhino dogs are purebred Belgian malinois and cost about $5,000 each — not your average pet, but dollar-for-dollar, invaluable in the fight to save rhinos. Your donation — whether large enough to buy a dog outright or one that we can pool with other gifts to purchase a pup — will help us put more of these powerful four-legged rhino defenders on the ground.
Please give generously today.