Dogs are really smart animals, and because of that, humans use their assistance for jobs that dogs are a lot more skilled at. Our furry friends have sharper senses when it comes to smell and hearing, which makes them incredibly useful for doing jobs that involve finding somebody (e.g. a suspect) or something (e.g. an illegal item).
Apparently, a human has about 5 million scent glands in comparison to dogs, who have 125 million to 300 million (depending on breed). This means that a dog’s sense of smell is 1,000 to 10 million times better than humans! They can also they can already hear four times the distance of a human with normal hearing, and their ears can pick up a whole range more of pitches than humans can.
It’s no surprise then that dogs are helping humans in a range of jobs, including police dogs, sheep dogs, guide dogs, therapy dogs, and dogs specially trained to detect an illness such as diabetes. The Good Boys that we’re going to show you today are part of Southern African Wildlife College‘s anti-poaching K9 unit, and the work they do is truly incredible.
South Africa holds almost 80% of the world’s rhinoceroses, but sadly, the poaching rates are shockingly high. In the past decade there were over 8,000 poaching-related rhino deaths, but thanks to South Africa’s K9 unit, numbers are finally beginning to fall.
Dog breeds such as Texan Black-and-Tan Coonhounds, Belgian Malinois, Foxhounds, and Blue Ticks are all trained from birth to ensure that they do the best job possible to help put an end to rhino poaching. When the pups are around 18 months old they’re normally big enough to start working!
So how do these clever pups do their job? Well, some of their tasks involve include free tracking, incursion, detection, patrol, and apprehension. Johan van Straaten, a K-9 Master at the college, told The Daily Mail:
‘They learn how to track, bay at a person in a tree and follow basic obedience. At six months we put all that training together more formally – they do have the necessary skill set to do the work at a younger age but are not mature enough to handle all the pressures of real operations.”
The dogs use their incredible sense of smell to help track down a poaching suspect or bring the team to a rhino calf who has been orphaned by poaching. All the rescued calves are transferred to Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, and thanks to the dogs’ hard work, there are 45 safe calves so far! Care For Wild told Instagram:
“Reaper and his fellow K9 team members patrol the fence lines 24/7 with their highly trained and experienced handlers. They are also highly skilled in vehicle searches as well as tracking and apprehension. The K-9 unit is a force multiplier and an invaluable asset in keeping the rhinos safe.”
A dogs’ speed is also important when tracking poachers, as humans simply cannot outrun a highly trained dog! Care For Wild said:
“The game changer has been the free tracking dogs who are able to track at speeds much faster than a human can in terrain where the best human trackers would lose spoor.”
These dogs are doing such an amazing dog in protecting the rhinos, and we want to give them the recognition they deserve! This goes to prove that dogs truly are one of the best animals.
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