The Mission of Canines for Africa is to halt the demise of endangered species of wildlife in Africa.
By training and deploying multi-role Wildlife Protection Canine Units, we help protect vulnerable animals from annihilation by poachers.
Between the ruthless poachers and their vulnerable prey stands a thin green line of extraordinary men, who daily risk their lives to protect wildlife and habitats – the Rangers.
Individuals who chose, and are selected by us, to become Handlers are the elite of local community Rangers. They undergo an intensive sixty-day accredited and independently accessed training course at a dedicated centre in South Africa. Here the Rangers are also paired with their Canines, with which they return to their home Reserves.
Canines for Africa breeds, trains and deploys highly specialized multi-role Wildlife Protection dogs. German, Dutch and Belgian Shepherds are trained to track human, firearm and ammunition scent, and to disable armed poachers, while Weimaraners are trained to search for live or dead animals (such as an elephant injured by a poacher, or an orphaned baby rhino) or for contraband (such as elephant tusks, rhino horn or pangolin scales). We also use other breeds such as spaniels and hounds in situations where these are the best option.
The Canines work very effectively at night, when most poachers are active. Where required they can track for many hours, can abseil from a helicopter, can lay in wait for a criminal, can protect their Handler, and can apprehend a suspect.
“Over the past 10 months the canine units have successfully tracked and taken down over 90% of the poachers arrested in the Kruger National Park.” (SANParks official statement).
“The dogs were responsible for tracking down poachers with such success that they can certainly be identified as a factor in the huge reduction in poaching in Amboseli.” (Big Life Foundation, Kenya).
“I do think that anti-poaching units will never again work without a good tracking dog.” (Johan de Beer, Kruger National Park Anti Poaching K9 Unit).
These are just three quotes from a multitude that highlight the importance of anti-poaching K9 units. In a recent period of seventy days, teams trained by our Chief of Operations Conraad were responsible for the capture of five rhino poachers, two lion poachers and ten ‘lesser’ bush-meat poachers. The K9 units are becoming so successful that in some reserves it is estimated that 70% of the success achieved is as a result of the deterrent effect alone of the dogs. We at Canines for Africa have every confidence that our K9 teams will make a hugely significant difference to the amount of animals lost to poachers, if not the total eradication of poaching in our areas of operations.
Anti-poaching K9 Units are a relatively new tool in wildlife conservation. Their effectiveness is however becoming rapidly recognized and the demand for these extraordinary dogs is soaring.
In the ideal situation, the poacher will be stopped before he has committed his crime. But even if he is captured after the event, valuable information can be obtained about his co-criminals, leading to the arrest of those further up the hierarchy. In both scenarios, these extraordinarily effective Canine Units play their part in saving endangered species from extinction.
Our K9 Units not only help save animals, but also countless innocent human lives - the kidnapping, torture, rape or murder of whom is funded by poaching.
ONE WILDLIFE RANGER is killed EVERY THREE DAYS
FOUR ELEPHANTS are killed EVERY HOUR
THREE RHINOS are killed EVERY DAY
Many other species of animal are killed for their beautiful skins, their bones, their meat, and for the exotic wildlife trade.
Lions are increasingly being targeted – their numbers have dropped by seventy- five percent in the last twenty years. Part of this decline comes from the demand for their bones, now that there are so few tigers left in the wild.
In some gruesome circumstances rhinos have their horns brutally removed while they are still alive, as it is believed the horn from a living animal has greater potency and thus commands a higher price. There are only an estimated three percent of the original numbers of these historic animals left.
Pangolins are sometimes captured and kept alive, their scales pulled off one by one by people who believe keratin – the same substance all fingernails are made of – has curative properties. These adorable and iconic animals die a slow, agonizing death over many months.
Poison is increasingly being used, put in watering holes know to be frequented by the poacher’s target species, with collateral damage being the deaths of hundreds of other animals drinking from the same source. Poison is also put on the carcasses of poached animals in order to kill the feeding vultures, whose presence might attract attention to the location of the slaughter.
If the slaughter continues at its current rate, animals that have been on our planet for nearly 15 million years will be extinct by 2020.
Exorbitant prices are paid for animal parts - rhino horn sells for above $100,000 per kilo in Vietnam, and the retail market for elephant tusks in 2016 reached $552 million.
Poachers are therefore primarily no longer impoverished local people killing to feed themselves and their families; organised crime syndicates and terrorist groups are the main perpetrators.
Boko Haram in Nigeria finances its kidnapping gangs partially through sales of ivory
Al-Shabaab, based in Somalia, is profiting off Kenyan elephants killed by poachers to the tune of $600,000 per month, 40% of its income
Joseph Kony and his brutal Lord’s Resistance Army fund their rape and murder in the DRC by trading ivory and rhino horn
Similar organisiations exist in Uganda, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, amongst other countries
THE HUMAN TOLL
An estimated 1,000 park Rangers have been killed in the line of duty over the past 10 years, 75% of these by commercial poachers and armed militia groups
When a Ranger captures or kills a poacher, his family sometimes suffers revenge attacks, perpetrated by the poaching syndicate
When a Ranger is incapacitated or killed, his wife, children and extended family often become destitute
Hunting and photographic tourism suffer when animal populations are destroyed; local people therefore lose jobs, food and income because of poaching
Militias that rape, torture and murder innocent people do so with arms financed by poaching