Dogs help to save rhinos

EFFECTIVE: Dog patrols can follow poachers' footprints for more than 28 hours

THE Animal Day recently celebrated at Bioparc Valencia, which also marked the third edition of the Can Stroke campaign in association with Arcadys, was a huge success and managed to raise €1,862 for the Animals Saving Animals campaign.

Dogs That Save Rhinos or the Rhino Dog Squad scheme is promoted by the Save the Rhino campaign. An original project, it involves brigades of guards and dogs trained to protect the animals from poachers in Africa. Belgian shepherds are predominantly used due to their good sense of smell and ability to pursue, track and if necessary attack poachers.

More than 1,000 rhinos are killed each year by poachers, representing a figure of three per day, a worrying trend that if allowed to continue will see the species extinct by 2016. The conservation world is mobilising to fight this situation, protection zones for the rhino are being set up and forces to combat the poachers are a priority. The teams utilising dogs have proven an effective means to help save the rhino and so further funding is being sought.

The dogs, along with their keen sense of smell, are able to cover long distances over difficult terrain, being able to follow poachers’ footprints for over 28 hours. As well as being able to locate rhinos, they are also trained to detect weapons and ammunition and are ready to attack in order to apprehend poachers.

More information about Rhino Dog Squad can be found on the website www.savetherhino.org

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