Get to know the heroes of the K9 anti-poaching dog unit


Jade Poole from I Write Words


Meet the pawsome dogs who are fighting wildlife crime, saving our wildlife and making a massive difference in our country in conservation

If you have been following the latest Oneplan news, then you will know that we have recently sponsored the dogs and their handlers who form part of the Project Rhino’s K9 anti-poaching dog unit with health and pet insurance.

Some background to Project Rhino

The incredible initiative that is Project Rhino is a collaboration of leading conservation agencies, reserves, rhino owners and anti-poaching specialists who are working together to conserve the wildlife in South Africa.

K9 anti-poaching dog unit

This fantastic and hard-working crime-fighting canine unit was established in 2017. The reason for this unit’s creation was that dogs are proven to be an essential tool to help in fighting wildlife crime by tracking down poachers, detecting wildlife products and recovering illegal weapons and ammunition.

The team hopes to grow in using trained and certified tracking dogs to assist in tracking and locating suspects as well as gathering critical intelligence.

The unit relies solely on donations, which is why we decided to insure the health of the dogs and their incredibly hardworking handlers for one year.

Why dogs to help anti-poaching?

In the field of nature conservation, dogs can detect, apprehend, track and assist humans in bringing the bad people to justice.

Dogs trained in detection can smell even the smallest concentrations of odours and can quickly tell the difference between scents.

Tracking dogs are used to help in finding important forensic information and suspects, which can lead to successful arrests taking place. 

Meet the team



Breed: Bloodhound

Age: 5 years

Job description: Human scent-tracking

Gunner, known as ‘the nose’ is a fun-loving character who loves to explore and adventure the great outdoors by the side of his handler. He loves attention and is a sucker for affection. He might come across as friendly, but when duty calls, he finds a scent in seconds and will relentlessly track until his target is acquired. He is trained to jump out of a helicopter and track until he finds his scent.



Breed: Belgian Malinois

Age: 5 years

Job description: Human scent-tracking, Apprehension

Phoenix is full of energy and bounds around playing with her favourite squeaky toy. Once she detects a scent, she will find the suspect until he is apprehended.

A fun fact about Phoenix is that she has gotten so used to aerial deployments, she sometimes falls asleep in the helicopter.


Bonnie Shikar

Breed: Belgian Malinois

Age: 3 years

Job description: Human scent-tracking, Apprehension

Her gentle nature is something that sets Bonnie apart, as her favourite thing is receiving praise from her handler, followed by her rubber ball of course.

She is a highly skilled tracker and apprehension dog and stops at nothing until the job is done.



Breed: Dutch Shepard

Age: 1 year

Job description: Human scent-tracking, Detection and Apprehension

One of the youngest members of the team, Bailey has a wide range of skills from tracking human scents, detecting firearms and ammunition, as well as apprehending suspects. She is confident, stable and always willing to go the extra mile to get the job done.



Breed: Dutch Shepard

Age: 8 weeks

Job description: Playing, eating and attention-seeking

Spook is still in training and hopes to one day be just like Bailey and offering a wide range of skills. Although young, she is still a very competent dog and is confident in detecting scents in the Zululand bushveld. She is enthusiastic and eager to learn. Spook will one day join the unit at an operational level.

How you can help

If you want to get involved and help make a difference, the K9 unit is always in need of dog food, leashes, first aid kits, veterinary supplies and more - please click here to donate!

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