K9 Response Officer/ Trainer
K9 Unit: Protected Area Integrity Department
The Southern African Wildlife College is looking for an experienced, suitably qualified, and enthusiastic Response Officer to join our dynamic and innovative K9 Unit, which falls within our Protected Area Integrity Business Unit. As a centre of specialization, the SAWC trains field staff and wildlife managers for conservation areas across the region. Through testing and ensuring best practice for conservation organizations, the SAWC remains abreast of current conservation challenges. The K9 Unit plays an integral role in this commitmentand personifies the College’s objectives of best practice and learning by doing (applied learning) which underpins all of our programmes.
The K9 Response Officer will have a strong operational background and an understanding of counter-poaching operations. The K9 Response Officer works with dogs in the field in live operational situations, and must always manage the associated risks to both dogs and handlers. The K9 unit has proved to be a game changer ands continues to bolster the College’s four-tiered approach to counter poaching, which includes well-trained field rangers on the ground, an aerial support unit and engagement with, and beneficiation of communities. The ability to liaise with all relevant stakeholders and role-players (both internally and externally) regarding the effective training and role of free running tracking and patrol hounds, and their handlers is thus key.
The unit provides operationally competent handlers and healthy hounds that are trained to track, locate, and apprehend poachers within a prescribed conservation area. The successful candidate in this role should be capable of implementing and sustaining a comprehensive training plan (in conjunction with the Dog Master) that includes on-boarding for new handlers and maintenance training for current handlers. One of the primary duties is to evaluate the behavior and disposition of dogs to determine if they are suitable candidates for training. The Response Officer must demonstrate an ability to teach dogs to respond to voice commands, using various techniques, and to prepare dogs for specific tasks such as following human scent identification trails and apprehending poachers. The role requires someone with strong interpersonal skills, capable of working proactively in an environment comprising a diverse set of stakeholders. The K9 Response Officer is expected to demonstrate strong networking skills and be able to build relationships within the working dog and conservation sector industries.
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To apply for the position, please complete our application form which you can find on our website or using this link, which can be opened on a smart phone, tablet or computer:
Closing date: 31 October 2023 at 16h00.
If you are shortlisted we will contact you to ask for more details such as a complete CV, copies of qualifications and written references. Candidates who have not received a response within two weeks of the closing date are kindly requested to assume that their application has not been successful in this instance.
The Southern African Wildlife College is an equal opportunity employer and recruitment, selection and staff development is based solely on the capabilities, qualifications and intrinsic qualities of the person. No decision will be based on race, sex, culture, age, religion, creed or on any other potentially subjective views or perceptions. In addition, the College will employ people taking into account affirmative action policies, equity planning and recognition of the abilities of differently-abled people.
The College always endeavours, wherever feasible, to fill all vacancies from within whilst giving due consideration to maintaining high standards. The college, and the HR department, will thus always first look at the role and at existing employees not only within the department but within the college as whole, to determine whether there is any employee who has been identified with potential, as part of our Leadership Development policy, who meets the requirements for the role and could be promoted into it. Vacancies are always be advertised within the College unless the position is such that it cannot be filled internally, under which circumstances the position will be advertised nationally and possibly even internationally.
The Equity Committee (EC) and the SAWC community forum and/or Community Liaison Officers will be notified of all vacancies in the interests of transparency and these will be advertised on all college notice boards and via staff email. Cognizance will be taken of the needs in terms of equal opportunities, equity and transformation and development when making appointments. All applicants are required to undergo integrity testing prior to employment.