K9 Anti-poaching and World Ranger Day
Posted on:July 31, 2023
Helping in the fight to save our rhino by expanding and empowering the K9 Anti-Poaching Unit.
Today, on World Ranger Day 2023, we are immensely proud to bring you an update on our project
to assist with the expansion of the K9 Anti-Poaching Unit at our beloved Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
Recognising the value of the K9 Anti-Poaching unit
The use of dogs in the prevention and follow-up of rhino poaching incidents has become widely regarded as one of the most effective tools in the fight to protect our precious rhino populations from the endless onslaught by ruthless poaching syndicates.
During discussions with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in 2021, The Isibindi Foundation recognised their need to increase the number of dogs available to the anti-poaching efforts in HIP. In conjunction with Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge, we set ourselves the goal of adding two additional dogs to the K9 unit, effectively doubling its size and effectiveness.
Our award-winning video about the K9 unit
As part of our campaign we produced a short video entitled “Saving Our Rhino”, highlighting the plight of the rhinos in HIP and the urgent need to expand the K9 unit. This video won two awards at the International Tourism Film Festival Africa awards in 2022 and as a result drew a great deal of attention to the project.
In the months that followed, we received significant support for our K9 project from a large number of individuals and organisations. In total we have received contributions totalling over R283,000 which has enabled us to accomplish even more than we originally set out to do.
First and foremost, through the funds raised we were able to contribute significantly to the acquisition of two additional dogs for the unit who are now actively engaged in full-time anti-poaching operations. This duo of Dutch Shepherds are named Chief Rocky and Captain Wallace – two of the most energetic and intimidating canines imaginable.
Before being able to operate effectively in the harsh and often extremely dangerous conditions that they face, both the dogs and their handlers required intense and highly specialised training, which we were able to help fund through the money raised for the project.
In addition, we purchased two state-of-the-art Garmin GPS tracking collars for the K9 unit which ensure that the handlers are able to maintain a close eye on their dogs even when they are moving swiftly through the bush.
Last but not least, and although it wasn’t originally part of the scope of the project, The Isibindi Foundation facilitated the installation of a solar power system (kindly provided by Insele Solar) at the K9 unit base as well as various other items of equipment for the members of the unit. The solar installation enables them to charge radios, phones and GPS tracking units, which are crucial for the efficacy of their operations, as well as run a small fridge for essential veterinary supplies.
It doesn’t stop there
Like most ongoing projects, the K9 unit requires constant support to cover recurrent expenditure and to acquire or replace equipment used in their operations. For this reason, we have been working to come up with ways to provide ongoing financial support to the K9 unit.
With this in mind we entered into an agreement with Muratie Wines from Stellenbosch to supply us with a high-quality Shiraz to which we have added our customised K9 label. This delicious wine is available at all of the Isibindi Africa Lodges in South Africa and by purchasing it you are contributing to the protection of rhino on Hluhluwe-iMfolozi through the support of the K9 unit.
Once again, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the success of this project to date. We understand that wildlife conservation requires collective effort and active involvement to ensure a sustainable future for the precious biodiversity that graces our planet.