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Heroic Dogs Track, Skydive to Save Wildlife From Poachers in Africa

Apr 17, 2017 09:18 AM EDT
German shepherd
Heroic dogs fight poachers in Africa.
(Photo : Christopher Furlong / Staff)

Dogs are brave, strong and extremely loyal creatures, so it's no surprise that they're being trained to help save African wildlife who are in constant danger of poachers. Heroic pups have come to play an important role in every anti-poaching initiative, giving the public another reason to love man's best friend.

"Today, almost every anti-poaching unit in South Africa have dogs assisting them in their daily fight against poaching," Paramount Group law enforcement dog trainer of Henry Holsthyzen told ECNS. "The contribution these dogs are making in the field of anti-poaching is phenomenal."

One particularly exceptional dog that's fighting the good fight is Arrow, a German shepherd who is the world's first ever skydiving, anti-poaching dog. He is trained to tandem skydive with Holsthyzen in hopes of improving the response time to poachers in South Africa.

Certainly, more and more dogs are being enlisted to help anti-poaching efforts, particularly across Africa.

According to a report from BBC News, the canines of the Extremus Dog Training in St. Clears have to undergo an extensive 12-month training period in Wales before further training with the organization Animals Saving Animals in Africa.

"I would imagine 99.9 percent of poachers are going to, upon sight of the dogs, instantly give up," Extremus Dog Training director, Darren Priddle, pointed out. "In the interest of their own personal safety it's not going to be beneficial for them to try and outrun one of the anti-poaching dogs. There is no chance a poacher is going to outrun one of these dogs."

These anti-poaching dogs can reach a speed of up to 30mph (50kph) when chasing after a target.

Part of the training also includes familiarizing the dogs to various wildlife like lions, rhinos and giraffes, so they're used to the jungle animals upon arriving in another continent. They're also taught to lead their wardens to poachers as well as detecting gunpowder and weapons by scent.

When performing their duties, the anti-poaching dogs will wear body armor that'll protect them from the poachers. None of Extremus' animals have ever been injured or killed during their anti-poaching operations.

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