Bloodhounds track elephant poachers

2012-03-12 22:35

Kinshasa - The Democratic Republic of Congo's famed Virunga National Park has deployed bloodhounds to track down elephant poachers, a park official said on Monday.

"The first operation of the specially-trained bloodhounds was launched after a succession of elephant-poaching incidents," LuAnne Cadd, the park's public relations officer, told AFP.

"The operation lasted two days and resulted in an armed contact between park rangers and suspected elephant poachers followed by the recovery of an illegal cache of weapons," she said.

There are a total of five bloodhounds deployed to fight poaching.

Cadd said 11 elephants were killed in 2011 in Virunga and three in January and February this year.

She said the European Union-backed canine project "will have a significant impact on the poaching problem in the park, particularly in protecting the vulnerable elephant population as demands for ivory increase worldwide".

The dogs were trained for about a year at a special facility in Switzerland.

The 7 800kmĀ² park, created in 1925, is the oldest in Africa and was classified a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1979.

It is home to about a third of the world's population of rare mountain gorillas and also has hippopotamuses and elephants.

  • Michael - 2012-03-13 02:05

    11 elephants were killed in 2011 in Virunga and three in January and February this year. The rhino's will be extinct in SA before anything gets done...

      richard.hipkin - 2012-03-13 09:34

      Oh boy you again. Lots are being done, if you actually really cared about rhino poaching instead of pretending by commenting on the odd article you would know this. Rhino poaching syndicates have been infiltrated, poachers shot dead with many more arrested. Massive resources are being ploughed into Rhino conservation... and then we have people like you who spew ignorant comments like "... before anything gets done..." Typical ignorant News24 comment..

  • Dave - 2012-03-13 03:05

    Well done, at least it looks like they are trying....

      Keighley-Ann - 2012-03-13 09:08

      Reserves in Kenya use bloodhounds to track poachers and it's extremely's something that you'd think the 'leaders' in conservation i.e. KNP would have done - I even asked the reserve I was visiting in Kenya and they were shocked to hear that we do not utilise these amazing dogs as a method of tracking...then again, I wasn't surprised at the lack of intelligence when it came to conservation by officials in large parks like the KNP! Am so sick and tired of listening to poor excuses of security and this and that excuse being given to the public...our rhinos are being slaughtered...wake up and smell the roses...look to Africa for answers in conservation, there are plenty of historical accounts of poaching and species being saved due to certain initiatives! And kudos to those who are doing their bit to protect animals here in South Africa...the efforts in Kariega to help Themba and Thandi through their horrific ordeal is evidence that we are capable of conserving our animals, and more importantly, where money does not dictate!

      jacobus.m.vantonder - 2013-05-25 18:38

      Keighley, I have tried to send you a link to a photo of Pro Track Anti Poaching Hoedspruit, but it didn't want to work. Pro Track are using dogs very successful in catching poachers, and is busy training others to use the same tactics..

  • Richard Lemmer - 2012-03-13 05:40

    Excellent ! It is just a pity that journalists do not do proper research before the publish an article . As fart as I have it KNP is a mere 27 years older !

      Gareth - 2012-03-13 08:47

      incorrect... Fart was an appropriate auto-correct i take it :) Kruger set aside a reserve area in the 1880's for restricted hunting. The National Parks act was passed 31 May 1926 and only then were the Sabi and Shingwedzi game reserves merged and officially proclaimed National Park. So, the Belgians in Congo beat us to it. Perhaps they motivated the then Transvaal govn to formalise national parks? who knows?

  • Arlene - 2012-03-13 06:45

    Hooray we wont be able to realy fully rely on humans but other animals that cant be bribed will yield results!!!

  • Amanda - 2012-03-13 07:45

    Great effort, at least they seem to realise that not trying will eventually lead to the killing of all the elephants. As was said by one of our ministers "there are still ...thousand left and they are not that worried at this stage"

  • Steve Kaderli - 2012-03-13 10:06

    Good hope that the other countries will follow

  • esme.collins1 - 2012-03-14 10:20

    If we are serious about protecting our Rhino, why are bloodhounds not being used in South Africa? Because top officials - including some in government - are benefitting from this very lucrative trade!!!

      jacobus.m.vantonder - 2013-05-25 21:39

      Protrack Anti Poaching Unit, they use dogs to great success... based in Hoedspruit.

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