Oneplan K9 Unit Sponsorship: An Update On The Pawesome Heroes Fighting Wildlife Crime
Oneplan is sponsoring the health of Project Rhino’s K9 unit in providing both the handlers with health insurance and their dogs with pet insurance. We recently touched based to find out how the team is doing.
We wanted to do something that helped make a difference in their lives and seeing as their health is of the utmost priority, we reached out in offering health and pet insurance cover for one year.
A little background to this amazing initiative
Before we get into the details of this article, let’s first touch base on what the K9 Unit is and what they do…
Project Rhino is a wildlife crime-fighting and conservation organisation that helps bring an end to wildlife crime such as poaching, more specifically, rhino poaching. You can find their website here.
In 2017, the organisation created the K9 anti-poaching dog unit, which assists in stopping wildlife crime. The unit is based in KZN, Hluhluwe and is only a few minutes drive from the Hluhluwe Airfield and the Rhino-SAPS Team. This helps them to quickly respond to any emergencies.
The dogs are trained for tracking, detecting and apprehending suspects, as well as discovering important forensic information at crime scenes. All of which help lead to successful arrests. Putting the bad guys away and helping our precious wildlife to survive.
The team are some of the top wildlife fighting dogs in the country and are put through intense training in order to get there. The dogs form remarkable bonds with their handlers throughout the entire training process.
If you want to know a little more about this incredible unit, you can read our blog post on the topic: Oneplan K9 Unit Sponsorship: Training The Pawfect Heroes.
A recent update
Here’s what has been happening over the last 3 months with this incredible team…
The team was recently called out on two separate occasions to assist the South African Police Service in robberies taking place in the Greater Hluhluwe Area.
The first was a robbery in Hluhluwe Town. Here, the K9's successfully tracked down two suspects close to the N2 highway, where they apprehended the robbers.
The second call-out was to assist in the tracking of poachers on a game farm located on the outskirts of Hluhluwe Town. The K9’s then put their tracking skills to use and followed and found the poachers’ tracks, after 7 kilometres of following their scent.
The team also located items such as a double-barrel hunting rifle, hunting knives and axes on the trail.
Wildlife Crime Fighting
The K9 Unit has also been called out on a regular basis to assist in stopping wildlife crime on a number of game farms and reserves (private, community and government reserves). The team assist in helping other Anti-Poaching Units fight against any wildlife crime-related incidences that occurred.
But tracking, detecting and apprehending the poachers is not all this amazing team is capable of. The dogs are trained to fly in helicopters and jump out on the scene of the crime. This minimizes the time it takes the team to arrive at the scene of the crime and increases the success rate in catching the perpetrators.
Rhino Reserves Training
Not only does this K9 Unit help the police and other surrounding farms and reserves, but they are also deployed daily to the Member Rhino reserves.
Here, the dogs partake in vigorous training with the other Anti-Poaching Units within these reserves.
As well as this, the dogs conduct training exercises with the Project Rhino Air Wing to ensure that they are fully ready when an incident occurs.
Spook (a member of the team)
Spook is a Dutch Sheppard puppy who joined the team when she was only 8 weeks old (cute!). She was only a ball of cuddly fluff when she started and now, she is officially in training to join the pack!
She is currently completing her obedience training, imprinting training, ball drive training (the basis of detection work) and prey drive training (the basis of tracking work).
Once her training is complete, she will be classified as a dual purpose K9 with tracking and detection capabilities. Being based in Zululand at the moment, Spook is gaining valuable exposure to local working conditions and is already confident with the number of scents and sounds found in the Zululand bush.
She might look cute, but this little firecracker is on her way to becoming part of the elite team of wildlife crime-fighting dogs!
Skydive for Rhino Fundraising Campaign
The team conducted a “Skydive for Rhino Fundraising Campaign” to assist in maintaining their projects on the ground. The K9 handlers went beyond the line of duty to assist us with the running of this event. Have a look at the Skydive for Rhinos facebook page for more information on this!
List of needs
Did you know that this team relies solely on donations?
There are all sorts of items you can sponsor for the team, every little bit counts in making a difference!
Stay tuned for more updates on this incredible initiative!