With their speed, natural hunting instincts, and incredible sense of smell, K9s are proving to be helpful partners to anti-poaching units (APUs) across Africa. According to the South African Wildlife College’s counter-poaching data, when responding to incursions without any K9 asset, apprehension rates are about 3-5%. K9 units see a dramatically higher apprehension rate of about 54%!
Global Conservation Force (GCF) has supported K9 anti-poaching units, rangers, and dogs since 2015. From the start we have also been strategically aligning our own K9 unit. In 2019, Global Conservation we acquired Denali, a trained, adult female, Belgian Malinois. In the spring of 2019, Denali gave birth to a litter of puppies and in the summer of 2019, they made their way to South Africa to begin training with our partner, Kilo9 Kennels. The dogs will help track and apprehend poachers, and detect gun oil, pangolin scales, rhino horn, and ivory.
Before an anti-poaching unit receives a trained K9, we verify the unit has trained and certified rangers to handle a K9. The ranger unit should also have a stable reserve management infrastructure which includes other rangers, a care-taking staff, vehicles, and kennels. The K9s require safe housing, high quality food and supplements, continued training, regular vet exams, flea and tick treatment, and downtime.
GCF’s Working Dog Bloodline
Currently, all the GCF K9s are Belgian Malinois dogs. Malinois are well-suited to anti-poaching work due to their incredible agility, intelligence, and bite strength. Denali, a GCF K9, BRN 30637, is the daughter of KNPV (Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging, or Royal Dutch Police Dog Association) all-time-great, Mido. He attained his PH1 with a perfect score, 435/435 points. That earned him an invitation to the KNPV Championships where he scored 429 /435 pts. He is the son of the famous Jary Berghorst, who is a “super producer” and has great offspring throughout the world. On Denali’s maternal side she is granddaughter to Barry II, one of the most sought-after studs in recent years.
The puppies’ sire, Reaper (Archie BRN 25962), is a powerhouse Belgian Malinois. Reaper is from the strongest working lines out there including the likes of Jochie, Duco II and Django. Reaper does it all, from competition-style obedience to every application working dog needs to do. He tracks, does building / area searches, muzzle fights, detection, civil alerts, hidden bites and stuck a 45min passive bite.
K9 Professional Development Program
In 2020, GCF launched a new professional development program that offers the opportunity to learn firsthand how to successfully navigate caring for and preparing K9s and their handlers for work protecting wildlife. The program is based at the GCF K9 anti-poaching unit kennels in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.