Indy, the two-year-old open search dog is helping the fight against poaching and wildlife crimes. Dogs 4 Wildlife initially trained the spaniel as a Bush Meat Detection dog.

She’s now been deployed to Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa to locate and indicate on cached bush meat and animal carcasses.

Last year, a total of 451 rhinos were poached in South Africa. 327 within government reserves and 124 on private property.

Anti-poaching dogs poaching incidents by as much as 70%, so Indy has a huge part to play in the conservation of rhinos, and the rest of Mankwe’s residents by reducing poaching incidents.

The non-profit organisation Dogs 4 Wildlife aims to provide both quality, highly trained dogs and specialised ranger training for the development of anti-poaching canine units, to protect endangered wildlife.

They aim to inspire and motivate the next generation of wildlife protectors, through effective and determined education.

Credit: Dogs 4 Wildlife

Darren Priddle, Founder of Dogs 4 Wildlife and Extremus Dog Training said:

 “Indy, an English Springer Spaniel is currently 2 years old and has now been deployed to the superbly diverse Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in South Africa.

“Tasked with working alongside the reserve current Anti-Poaching K9 unit covering some 5000 hectares, Indy’s role is to locate and indicate on cached bush meat / animal carcass hidden by the poachers who trespass onto Mankwe to kill their precious wildlife.

“Once she has located the recently hidden caches the units tracking dogs can then follow the scent left by the poachers to hopefully arrest them and bring them to justice.

“Indy has a vital role to play in supporting Mankwe’s efforts in protecting their wildlife. Indy was bred and trained by the team at Dogs 4 Wildlife in the UK, where all of our dogs first start their journey to protect and conserve Africa’s wildlife”

Poaching efforts, specifically bushmeat poaching, in Mankwe have tripled during the pandemic and the years following. Operations manager Dr Lynne McTavish attributes this to unemployment with desperate people turning to crime. Poaching is seen as an easy option for survival as it’s not a prioritised crime in South Africa.

In 2021, Mankwe suffered the heart-wrenching loss of Reine and Maegen, Mum and five months old baby Rhino, who were killed as they slept and what little remained of their horns.

Deploying anti-poaching dogs and K9 units are a crucial part of conservation efforts in Africa.

With a long-term committed view to assisting in the protection and continuation of endangered species, Dogs 4 Wildlife are a highly experienced team of knowledgeable, dedicated animal lovers with a commitment to wildlife conservation.

With 12 operational dogs across four Southern African countries, The Dogs 4 Wildlife K9’s help achieve up to a 75% reduction in poaching numbers.

Dogs 4 Wildlife partnered with Endangered Rhino Conservation to help facilitate Project Indy and would like to thank Andy Ardle of Berrettavale Detection Dogs for breeding and training Indy prior to her deployment. 

Visit Dogs 4 Wildlife and Manke Wildlife Reserve to find out more.

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Uzma Gulbahar holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University College of London. She is particularly interested in exploring untold stories surrounding marginalised groups, identity and culture.

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