Sky Diving Dogs to Stop Poaching in South Africa
Poaching is a multi-billion dollar industry with tragic consequences for African Wildlife: over the last seven years populations of endangered African animals have been reduced by one third—-a shocking number of great concern to naturalists, and all lovers of wildlife.
The park rangers need to identify poachers, get to them quickly and arrest them before they do damage and escape into the bush, a wilderness many thousands of square miles in area. Locating these criminals quickly is key to stopping them, which would shut down the supply of ivory and other illicit commodities that fuels the black market. Park rangers have tried drones, cameras mounted on the horns of animals, DNA testing, and more, but have struggled to solve this critical problem.
And now they may have found a solution, and it’s incredible. Teams of dogs and men have been trained to parachute from helicopters when a poaching alert is raised. The fast helicopters fly them to the approximate scene quickly, and the dogs get to work doing what they do best, tracking the poachers down before they have a chance to escape. Dogs have been trained to track the smell of ivory, ammunition, and explosives. A South African School is currently training 200 dogs, along with their human handlers.
This is a bold, innovative approach, and it sounds a bit crazy. It just might work. Anything that stems the tide of poaching in this region will be a welcome change. The endangered animals of Southern Africa need all the relief they can get.
Check out the following article, with a spectacular video showing a dog team in action:
Learn more about sky diving dogs catching poachers (Science Alert)
Photo: Science Alert / BBC News (screen capture)