Anti poaching team train dogs to parachute
Canine members of South Africa’s anti – poaching unit are reaching new heights – after being taught to PARACHUTE into danger zones.
The team of hero hounds parachute and rappel from helicopters along with their trainers – in a bid to tackle illegal poachers.
The team of German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois dogs are highly trained in tracking poachers hiding in the bush.
Poaching hotspots are often in remote locations or dense bush and their skydiving skills enable them to reach hotspots quickly and follow poacher’s tracks.
Together the skilled dogs from the Paramount Group’s Anti-Poaching and K9 Academy patrol poaching hotspots and follow their noses to sniff out poachers.
They look for tell-tale poaching tracks such as cut or broken fences, irregular human tracks and litter from camp sites. They also look out for large flocks of crows and vultures or hyena tracks as they tend to feed off animals killed by poachers.
These incredible images show the canine anti-poaching team – Arrow, Giant, Venom, Alpha – and their instructors in action.
Arrow was one of the first four-legged to learn to skydive and is now on the frontline in the war against poachers in Africa.
A spokesman for the Paramount Group Anti-Poaching and K9 Academy said Arrow had been preparing for his anti-poaching role from a very early age.
“Arrow was first introducing to flying in a chopper at the age of 6 months, he then began rappel training when he was one-year-old.
“He loves flying in choppers and especially on the skids on the outside of the helicopter.
“Arrow goes everywhere with his handler, its important he trusts him, otherwise he wouldn’t jump out of a plane at 7,500ft.”
Poaching has become a billion-dollar industry run by international criminal networks.
Rhino horn is one of the most sought after, it is a highly valued component of traditional Chinese medicine, practiced in China, Vietnam and other parts of East Asia and hundreds of rhinos are killed illegally for their horns every year.
The program has already provided training for game rangers from a number of leading game reserves and national parks across the country, and from the continent.
They train the rangers in detection; detecting ivory, rhino horn and special ops; shooting, un armed and armed combat, arrests. They also use the ranger dogs to help them track down poachers as well as for K9 training including rappelling, fast rope and sky diving.
Rangers receive tip offs about poachers in the area and use the helicopter for a rapid response, skydiving into dense bushy and forest areas.
But despite its success a spokesman for K9 Academy said the task was not without its dangers.
He said: “The accidental opening of chute in a chopper is very scary as it could bring the chopper down.”
“Getting a specialist dog on the ground where he is needed when time is a great factor in the success of an operation.
“Rappelling and Skydiving into hots spots or very difficult terrain becomes the only option in getting the K9 Team on the ground ASAP.
“They also require specialized equipment including a doggy harness, googles, muzzle and earmuffs”