Written by Guy Martin, Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Canine in the Kruger National Park – used for tracking and capturing poachers as well as detecting contraband like firearms and rhino horn – have been described as a game-changer since their introduction to the park, with an arrest success rate of more than 80%.
On recent media trip to the Kruger National Park K9 Centre at Skukuza, canine manager Johan de Beer said in the space of a year, the dogs have been responsible for 168 of the 200 odd poaching related arrests in Kruger. “I don’t think we’d be able to do the job without them,” de Beer said.
In total, there are some 53 dogs in the park at the moment, which de Beer says is the largest anti-poaching canine unit in the world. Dogs are mainly acquired from Denel Mechem, Paramount Group and Genesis Canine Group as well as a few other certified companies. Trained, thoroughbred working dogs are not cheap, and typically cost between R35 and R50 000. Training a handler also costs tens of thousands of Rands.