South African Academy Trains Anti-Poaching Dogs

“Venom and Killer. These are members of a furry breed of anti-poaching operatives, dogs that can detect a whiff of hidden rhino horn in a suspect’s vehicle or follow the spoor of armed poachers in South Africa’s besieged wildlife parks. Dogs are a small part of an increasingly desperate struggle to curb poaching in Africa, where tens of thousands of elephants have been slaughtered in recent years to meet a surging appetite for ivory in Asia, primarily China. In South Africa, poachers have killed more than 1,000 rhinos this year, surpassing the 2013 record. Countries and conservationists are trying more robust patrols and surveillance, community programs and other tactics against criminal gangs that sometimes benefit from official corruption. As the conflict rages, elite dogs and handlers are drilling at an anti-poaching academy northwest of Johannesburg. The course prepares canine units to find firearms or contraband, track suspects in the undergrowth and abseil in harnesses from helicopters in pursuit of poachers. Dogs and handlers learn to trust each other and fine tune a relationship balancing control and aggression”. – Christopher Torchia via The Associated Press.

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In this photo taken Wednesday, November 26, 2014 attack dogs and their handlers apprehend a “rhino poacher” center, after alighting from a helicopter into water, in a simulation exercise showing training at an academy run by the Paramount Group, near Rustenburg, South Africa. The course prepares canine units to find firearms or contraband, track suspects in the undergrowth and abseil in harnesses from helicopters in pursuit of poachers. Dogs and handlers learn to trust each other and fine tune a relationship balancing control and aggression. (Photo by Denis Farrell/AP Photo)

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In this photo taken Wednesday, November 26 2014 a handler and his dog abseil from a helicopter, in a simulated exercise showing training at an academy run by the Paramount Group, near Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Denis Farrell/AP Photo)

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In this photo taken Wednesday, November 26, 2014 a dog is edged on to attack a “rhino poacher” left, in a simulation exercise showing training at an academy run by the Paramount Group, near Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Denis Farrell/AP Photo)

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In this photo taken Wednesday, November 26, 2014 dogs attack a “poacher” in a simulation exercise showing training at an academy run by the Paramount Group, near Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Denis Farrell/AP Photo)

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In this photo taken Wednesday, November 26, 2014 a dog chases down a “rhino poacher” left, in water, in a simulation exercise showing training at an academy run by the Paramount Group, near Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Denis Farrell/AP Photo)

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In this photo taken Wednesday, November 26 2014 a handler and his dog abseil from a helicopter, in a simulated exercise showing training at an academy run by the Paramount Group, near Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Denis Farrell/AP Photo)

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In this file photo taken Wednesday, November 19, 2014 tracking rangers with their dog, re-enact how they work, in conjunction with a helicopter, to track down rhino poachers in the Kruger National Park, near Skukuza, South Africa. (Photo by Denis Farrell/AP Photo)

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In this photo taken Wednesday, November 26, 2014 dogs exit a helicopter with their handlers to chase a “rhino poacher” front in water, in a simulation exercise showing training at an academy run by the Paramount Group, near Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Denis Farrell/AP Photo)

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In this photo taken Wednesday, November 26, 2014 a dog chases down a “rhino poacher” left, in water, in a simulation exercise showing training at an academy run by the Paramount Group, near Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Denis Farrell/AP Photo)

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In this photo taken Wednesday, November 26, 2014 a dog and its handler are photographed during a simulated training at an academy run by the Paramount Group, near Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Denis Farrell/AP Photo)

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