By Digi Foreakc
This last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting the Ol Pejeta Conservancy to visit the Anti Poaching Dog section.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is East Africa’s largest black rhino sanctuary. It has dedicated itself to safeguarding this endangered species and more.
Ol Pejeta has established an anti-poaching canine unit. This is a well-trained canine force primed to counteract the poaching menace that threatens the very existence of Africa's most majestic animals. The unit is comprised of tracker, patrol, assault as well as multi-role dogs and their specialized handlers.
Upon my arrival I first got to visit the kennels, located next to a boma where Sudan, the mascot of the section and one of the few remaining Northern White Rhino lives, are a block of lovely, clean cool and airy kennels. The dogs are all in great condition, attentive and lively.
I got some cuddle time with Lux, one of the two blood hounds who can track for 8 hours nonstop and has a similar endurance for cuddles.
Daryll Pleasants, the man behind the Section, has a passion for dogs and conservations and is putting this to good use. Daryll has a company in the UK called White Paws Training and specializes in corrective training.
He joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps in 1990 and served for 8 years as a Military Dog Trainer and Specialist Course Instructor. During his time in the army he undertook various roles including the training of all classifications of military dogs from protection through to specialist roles such as tracker and arms explosive search dogs and handled dogs operationally both in the U.K and abroad. He is a member of the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers and a qualified canine first aider. Daryll also liaises with various veterinary centres across the UK as a canine behavioural specialist, offering advice to their clients when requested on behavioural problems and dog psychology.
They have set up a fantastic Agility Arena next to the kennel block where the dogs can practice the obedience, agility and specific skills which come in use in their daily (or nightly) work. All this is done on a budget of donations and sponsorship.
My timing was lucky and I got to witness the passing out ceremony of some of the first handlers that have been trained here.
These dogs, while trained in assault, tracking, patrol and detection are also well socialized and able to be around the public without posing a threat. They are trained and treated with kindness and respect and are not aggressive… unless you are a poacher of course.
I will be posting more about the dogs here soon.