One such project has seen Ella, a Bloodhound Doberman cross, working with the Wilderness Foundation Africa’s Rhino project – and she’s now celebrating a successful first year as lead tracker dog, helping to protect endangered rhinos from poachers.
Ella is the first cold scent dog to work with anti-poaching units in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. She has been trained specifically to work on crime scenes which are more than a day old and can follow poachers’ tracks to determine their entry and exit points to reserves, as well as their shooting positions.
During her first year, none of the reserves where Ella has been active have lost a single rhino. A number of court cases are also ongoing in other reserves as a result of evidence she has uncovered at crime scenes. Dr William Fowlds from the Wilderness Foundation Africa (and former Medivet employee) said,
As a cold scent tracking dog, Ella brings a formidable skill set to our anti-poaching units. Her ability to track human footsteps across a variety of terrains, day or night, is a significant deterrent to those thinking of killing our rhinos.
The cost of training Ella, her handler, support vehicle and accommodation has all been funded by the Medivet Rhino programme and by the generous donations of Medivet customers who have been giving small change a big purpose and choosing to add a 50p donation to their bill.
To date, Medivet Rhino has raised more than £315,000 via Pennies to help fund this rhino protection program, donations that are making a tangible difference to the Wilderness Foundation Africa and their hugely important conservation efforts.
Dr John Smithers, Senior Partner and Head of Practice Integration and Development at Medivet, said:
We are deeply grateful to all our clients and staff who have donated to Medivet Rhino and wish Ella and her team another successful year ahead.