Monday, August 20, 2018
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Denel Mechem dogs to track poachers in Kruger

Denel Mechem dogs to track rhino poachersThe tracking skills of Denel Mechem’s trained dogs will now be used to sniff out rhino poachers in the Kruger National Park.

Specially trained dogs will be deployed in South Africa’s iconic game reserve for the next 18 months in terms of an agreement signed between Denel and SANParks.

Riaz Saloojee, Denel Group chief executive, said the company is looking forward to working with nature conservation authorities to combat the scourge of poaching.

“There is global concern about the devastating impact of poaching on our resources, but the most effective action is to be on the ground, detect the poaching gangs and apprehend them before they can do further damage.

“The canine unit at Denel Mechem provides the most effective answer in the battle against poaching.”

The dogs and their handlers have, in the past, been used to great effect to detect explosives and hidden landmines in war zones across Africa and the Middle East.

They also scored successes in sniffing out smuggled drugs, contraband and ivory at airports and border posts.

“Our focus is now on the illicit poaching of rhinos. Mechem will supply trained dogs and train SANParks dog handlers who will be deployed in Kruger. Technical K9 support and specialised dog care programmes will also be provided for the duration of the contract period.

“We are delighted to work with SANParks and to contribute to its extensive efforts to protect our natural resources. This is a case of two state-owned companies pooling resources and expertise to participate in a project of national and regional importance,” he said.

Dr Hannes Slabbert, senior manager: canine business said Mechem has trained dogs available for immediate deployment to Kruger.

“Over the past three years we have gained a lot of experience in this field by supplying trained anti-rhino poaching dogs and specialised handler training to several private game reserves and SANParks.

“Dog /handler combinations form formidable teams and we are confident we can have a huge impact towards the effort of breaking the back of rhino horn smuggling operations in the Kruger Park,” Slabbert said.