This week we did another tracking training with the future anti-poaching puppies! They did so well and most importantly, they had a great time. We laid out a 5m track on the lawn with footsteps adjacent to one another to make it easier for them to follow at this stage. On top of the tracks we put a little bit of dog pellets to keep them motivated and so everytime when they found food they got the smell of fresh tracks. At the end of the track, we placed a handful of food as being the jackpot and on top of that they got lots of love and playtime!
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 email@example.com.
You're help and support will be very much appreciated in this fight to protect our natural heritage!