World Rhino Day takes place on the 22nd September, and it’s a day to celebrate all five species of rhino: Black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan.
So in light of this special day, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to talk to you about one of our key initiatives within our Medivet Saving the Rhino campaign – detection and protection dogs!
In May 2015, we partnered with Dr William Fowlds (once an employed member of our Medivet family) and the Wilderness Foundation to help combat the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa.
We launched our campaign – Medivet Saving the Rhino – last year, which aims to raise funds to support rhino conservation activities, which are managed by the Wilderness Foundation.
One project that we help to fund through our campaign is the dog detection and protection programme. We all know dogs have extraordinary abilities, but with specialised intensive training, they can become skilled in so many different ways. Trained canines can put their skills to good use by being security dogs where they guard specific areas with their handlers. In particular, their skills can be used to patrol one of South Africa’s most important black rhino populations.
The dog detection and protection services are made up of an elite canine unit in South Africa. With rhino poaching increasing by nearly 3,000% since 2007, the need to combat the trade in rhino horn has never been greater. The Wilderness Foundation supports the dogs in one of the most important places of refuge for rhinos, and they have reported several arrests that have been made possible thanks to the skilful and capable canines that we support.
Every penny donated to the dog detection and protection initiative helps to train more dogs and their handlers, provide important veterinary care, and buy essential equipment for the dogs and rangers. Equipment needed includes collars, leashes, grooming kits, training equipment and ranger gear, along with food, veterinary supplies and vehicle running costs.
The focus of this initiative going forward is to fund our very own detection dog that will track and successfully arrest future poachers with its handler. The selection of potential anti-poaching puppies has begun, and these pups will be put through their paces in training over the next few months. At the end of training, the best candidate will be chosen to continue training and become a fully-fledged anti-poaching dog.
Progress has already been made with the accommodation that will house the new dog and its handler. The handler’s sleeping quarters will adjoin a comfortable kennel and a large run area for the chosen dog.
The funding made available by us provides an exciting future for this initiative.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all our clients. By attending one of our free puppy parties and choosing to make a donation, you have joined the fight to save the rhino. Your generous donations have helped make this possible.
If you would like to help fund our dog detection and protection initiative, contact your local Medivet practice to find out if they host puppy parties, and if so, pop along to their fun and informative classes with your puppy to make a kind donation.
Thank you for supporting #MedivetSavingtheRhino