Meet Primaa - rhino protection pup in trainingPublished: 13th February 2018

Primaa is a Belgian Malinois (Belgian Shepherd) dog and she, along with a slightly older Belgian Malinois, Savas, pictured  below left, at Hatfield Game Fair aged 14 weeks, will be the first canine team to work as ‘Rhino Guardians’ in Botswana. They will join Rhino Conservation Botswana monitoring teams and the government’s Anti-Poaching Unit on special patrols later this year. The addition of dogs such as these to conservancies and parks across Africa has proven incredibly effective. At Ol Pejeta in Kenya where we have also donated a dog, only one rhino has been poached in two years. 

Malinois are known as 'triple role' dogs been equally skilled at searching, tracking and apprehending. They are perfect for this type of work – intelligent, loyal, agile and possessing great stamina.

We believe the addition of these dogs to RCB monitoring teams will greatly improve vigilance. They will help RCB  keep Botswana’s rhinos safe from poachers. Given space and safety, both black and white rhino are continuing to thrive in the Moremi Game Reserve, watched over by RCB, something we are hugely excited about. 

 

Training

Primaa and Savas are currently in training with our partner Animals saving Animals, founded by ex military canine expert, Daryll Pleasants, and will be deployed this summer to the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana's Okavango. Their purchase, training, essential equipment and deployment to Botswana has been funded by Explorers against Extinction 2017. 

Training began at just three months old. The pups are learning the same search, track and attack skills as other protection and detection dogs, but they will experience the sights and sounds of Africa thanks to regular visits to the zoo and the Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent (see image below).

 

Deployment

The dogs will travel to their new home in Botswana this coming summer, where they will be introduced to the rhino monitoring officers who will be their new handlers. RCB’s new K9 teams will then learn and grow together with the guidance of Daryll and the ASA team. The creation of a specialist Dog Squad is expected to be a powerful deterrent to wildlife criminals.

Care

Explorers against Extinction funding ensures the pups and handlers are equipped with all the essentials to keep them safe, this includes body armour, goggles, collar, harness and lead and even a GPS tracker in case the dogs become separated from their handler. Funding also pays for inoculations, year one training, care and travel. However their needs are ongoing - they need continued veterinary care, food, safe kennelling and a run, refresher training and up to date first aid essentials. We want these dogs to have the very best care. 

 

Support the Dog Squads

You can help support dogs like Savas and Primaa by supporting one of our initiatives or sponsoring a dog or buying a tshirt through the Real World Store.

With our Explorers against Extinction 2018 campaign we intend to keep raising funds for the dog squads, including some exciting new squads to be announced very soon.  We will also be bringing you updates on the dogs we have donated to date - these include Vaala in the Save Valley in Zimbabwe, Primaa and Savas in the Moremi, Botswana and a new tracking Spaniel for Ol Pejeta in Kenya. All three areas are important breeding grounds for critically endangered black rhino.

One of the ways to support the dog squads is to take a selfie with your own dog and make a small donation (min £2) via our JustGiving page. We're celebrating dogs across the country as well as frontlinek9s and their rangers out in Africa  - all the photos will be compiled into a huge wall mosaic of an animal and will be displayed on our touring Sketch for Survival exhibition this autumn,  which kicks off at the brand new Wildlife & Safari show in Harrogate this September  - we hope you'll come along to see it and find your picture!

Thank you for your continued support.

 

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