We have been so busy these last few weeks with puppies and most of all getting ready for our trip to Zambia! Rox and Faust are heading off to Liuwa Plains at the end of the month. We are going to Liuwa Plains in Western Zambia to survey for Cheetah, Wild Dog and Lion in partnership with Working Dogs for Conservation from the USA and the Zambian Carnivore Conservation Programme. Faust is fit and ready to go, and we are really looking forward to it!
We will be heading up to Northern Botswana and crossing the Zambezi at Kazungula, then onward to Kalabo in Western Zambia. Watch this space for photos and news!
Time flies and the puppies are growing like weeds. Thandi's puppies are now 4,5 weeks and spent their first day in the chicken pen between chickens, goose, ducks and a turkey. They started off being a little bit shy, but soon they were exploring their new place. Soon, they will be introduced to Big Lucy (the goat) and Emmy (the sheep). The time spend with as many different animals as possible is essential for the puppies to develop into well-working livestock guardian dogs.
Gala's pups are the sweetest little bodies and 3,5 weeks now. Every day we get them out of their kennel and they can play on the grass, sand, everywhere. We start to get to know their different little characters and they become more playfull every day. We want to introduce them to as many scary things and noices as possible, which is very important for their development as we don't want them to be scared of things. Human handling is essential and I can't say we mind that. They are beautiful! They've also been given names after birds of prey. The 2 bitches: Kite and Kestrel and the 3 dogs: Tyto, Otus and Falco
Thandi's puppies (4,5 weeks):
All Thandi's puppies are already assigned to farmers in the Limpopo province and will go to their new home in 3 to 4 weeks!
Gala's puppies (3,5 weeks):
AND we are still looking for funding to raise these pups as absolute amazing anti-poaching dogs. So if you're interested or if you know someone that might be, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com or call 078-2519018 / 072-6409388 for more information!
We recieved some updated photos of Buzz this morning, our Border Collie who was trained at Green Dogs to chase birds off the runways at King Shaka International Airport in Durban. He has only been there a few short months but is already an active and helpful member of the team.
Birds pose a severe risk to aeroplanes as they can cause very expensive damage and potentially put passengers at risk, and so they must be cleared off the runways. The short grass areas alongside runways provide an ideal habitat for many species of birds, and the active presence of a dog chasing them off makes it a less appealing place to be. The dog acts as a predator, even though they are not actually hurting the birds, and encourages them to move on and live in peace somewhere else.
Apart from herding sheep, we simply cant think of a better job for a Border Collie. They work closely with their handler and get to run for much of their day. Collie Heaven!
Thanks to Marius Van Rooyen from ACSA for the photos and for keeping us up to date with Buzz and his progress. We miss him!
All the puppies here at the moment are growing like weeds. They all have round tummies and extremely healthy appetites. It is a real privelige to watch them grow up, and it goes so fast.
Gala's litter are just opening their eyes and are a very noisy bunch. They are crawling around on their tummies and are keeping Gala very busy.
Two weeks ago, I went to Botswana (Mashatu) with Julien Naar, who came to film Green Dogs Conservation for the French television. Part of this was to film about the current snaring and poaching problem in this area. We met up with the anti-poaching team and soon we were talking about the extent of this terrible and devastating threat to wildlife populations in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area. Rex Masupe, who is the head of the anti-poaching team, explained to us the current situation, the snare hotspots and the findings over the last months.
In one day, Rex and his team found 73 snares, which caught a huge number of dead animals that unfortunately all became victims. Luckily in this case, they were able to catch the guy who was responsible for herific crime and he was taken straight to jail. However, it doesn't always work like this. Sometimes it takes months to find a new snaring hotspot where innocent animals are getting snared......These 73 snares were found on just 1 day and were placed by just 1 guy. Just imagine how many more might be out there that we don't know of....
Snaring hotspots are mainly found near local settlements, where the supply of food is low and the people are poor. These people put out snares to supply them with their own food. This is not always the case, as there is also a form of organised poaching where the meat is being sold to other parties. Snares are made out of steal wire and most of the time poachers use fencing wire. With this wire they make a loop. The end will be attached to a tree and the loop is then placed in a vertical position. Snares will be placed around waterpoints to block off any free access to the water. The only way the animals can then reach the water is by walking straight into the snares. The snares are places at a certain height from the ground, depending on the animals that the poachers are trying to target. The animal sticks his head through the loop and starts pulling it, which makes it go tighter and tighter around the neck and eventually the animal dies a horrible death.
A big problem with snaring is, that it is very unselective. All animals can become a victim; herbivores, carnivores and many more including the animals that are Vulnerable or even Endangered. Snaring poses a hugh threat to our amazing wildlife populations and we have to find ways to safe animals from being caught and suffer to death!
The detection of snares is now being done by people. This does not only involve a lot of time and manpower, but it is also a very dangerous job as most poachers are armed with knives or big guns and they rather shoot than being caught. We are now working on an anti-poaching programme in which we train dogs to detect snares and to track poachers. Dogs have a very high detection rate and if we can contribute to catching these poachers, then hopefully we can help to mitigate this problem.
Our 5 new anti-poaching puppies form the biggest part of this war against snaring and poaching. They will be trained and work alongside anti-poaching teams in this area to contribute to the conservation of Africa's amazing wildlife.
YOU CAN HELP!
Training our new puppies to become excellent anti-poaching dogs involves 18 months of training and we will have to make use of the right type of equipment to make them the absolute best! They will be dropped out of helicopters, taken to as many different places as possible and they will probably chew through quiet a lot of tuggers. You can support our anti-poaching programme by sponsoring one of the puppies. There are 2 bitches and 3 dogs, and if you sponsor one of them you get to give it a name and of course we will keep you posted on the pup's progress!
If you're interested in supporting this very important programme, please contact us on carline@greendogsconservation or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You're help and support will be very much appreciated in this fight to protect our natural heritage!