Just over a year ago, you may remember reading about the successful year Bloodhound Doberman Cross, Ella had protecting Rhino from poachers in South Africa. This World Rhino Day, we are celebrating the latest protector to join forces with Ella and Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA), thanks to your generous Pennies donations supporting Wilderness Foundation and the Medivet forever Rhino initiative.

In May 2015 Medivet added the Pennies donation to the till in their veterinary practices and since then customers have been adding 50p to their bill. Earlier this month, donations reached an amazing milestone of 1 million donations and £500,000 raised for charity!

 

The extra funds have played a crucial role in helping the charity support these endangered animals with a wide range of activity. The support programme includes education and awareness, treatment for the survivors of poaching attacks, rehabilitation for orphaned baby rhinos and prevention efforts through cold scent tracker dogs.

Last year alone, in the area where Ella has been operational, several important arrests and convictions were achieved. Although Ella’s role is only one dimension to this effort, it is living evidence that where multiple stakeholder collaboration is deployed, results can be achieved. This success spurred the deployment of full Bloodhound Ziggy to join Ella’s efforts and became the newest member of the Wilderness Foundations anti-poaching unit, who is operational in one of the parks responsible for critical black rhino population. 

Ziggy, cold-scent tracker dog for Medivet Rhino initiative

WFA told us how amazing these dogs are and why they are so crucial to the initiative: Bloodhounds like Ziggy and Ella can track scents that are significantly older, even days later, and over great distances, due to their superior sense of smell and strong, tenacious tracking instinct. The ability to track down perpetrators that have made their way into areas with the intention of committing a crime ensures the poachers’ trail is found before they have had the chance to poach wildlife. Their unique ability allows them to track poachers long after a poaching incident, making these ‘cold scent’ tracker dogs a vital tool in poaching incidents.

These dogs require specialised skills, months of training as well as training for their handlers, followed by regular testing and ongoing refresher training. It is a costly investment and we are deeply grateful to WFA, Medivet and CRF for providing our precious rhino with this highly-effective protection against poaching. We are delighted to welcome Ziggy to our already formidable anti-poaching K9 unit.

Wilderness Foundation Africa

Without your support, trackers dogs Ella and Ziggy may have never been able to joining the anti-poaching unit, leaving many more Rhino vulnerable and in danger. On behalf of Pennies, the project on the ground, WFA and Medivet – we thank each and every person who has added a top-up donation to their bill when visiting the vets and have given their small change a truly remarkable purpose. Together we are helping protect and support these incredible animals.

Thank you for the monumental effort to the staff and the clients for the Pennies contributions.

Dr William Fowlds, Wilderness Foundation Africa

Dr Will Fowlds, Medivet project co-ordinator for the Wilderness Foundation Africa explains in the video below, how important the extra funds are and how thankful they are for your generosity and support for the #MedivetRhino initiative.

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