News from the SAWC’s Dog Master
As we welcome in the month of May 2020 and whilst most are stilled locked away in their houses, the K9 Unit is still working full steam ahead by training, maintaining and preparing all our dogs and teams to be deployed onto the front lines. Being part of mandated essential services and seeing how life has really been brought to a halt for so many, has really brought to light how important our jobs and responsibilities are. This is not only in the care of our dogs, but in terms of the “barrier” that we help erect between the rhino and the poachers.
The K9 team has successfully been deployed several times since the start of the Covid-19 lock-down. Even though everyone should be obeying the government’s regulations by staying at home, it seems that wildlife crime never stops. For anyone around the College who might hear the helicopter coming in or our vehicles responding, please remember to keep us in your thoughts and prayers not only for the team but for the rhino and other wildlife that continue to be targeted.
On a lighter note, 7 May 2020 marked the first birthday for our Black and Tan Hound puppies. Born from the dogs that arrived from Texas, we have all watched them grow into fantastic strong working dogs. There are many different tests our puppies have been put through to ensure that they are top class working dogs. So far all nine show exceptional talent and should be joining the old veterans on the front lines very soon. We strongly believe that even though we equip all our dogs with the necessary tools needed to accomplish their missions, there are particularly important skills that can only be learnt from our older more experienced dogs while out in the field. You will therefore often see us with a large mix of dogs while out on our training exercises.
During this time, a quote that the K9 Unit has found to be of real use and which has also provided some levity when we drive ourselves to constantly do better is “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”.
To the donors, such as the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance, Tusk Trust, Safari Frank and Friends of African Wildlife, that continue to support us, thank you! Without your support we would not be able to continue with the vital work that we do to help save one of Africa’s iconic species. Special thanks goes to some new donors this year including Rhino Disharmony, Edith Walhof, Jenna Clifford Design, John Stewart, the Edgar Droste Trust and the RB Hagart Trust. Your recent support keeps us fired up and ready to do more.