Pretoria – A German Shepherd from Rustenberg has pawed his way into the Guinness World Records by being recognised as the world’s first anti-poaching skydiving dog.
Arrow made the jump at the Air Force Base Waterkloof in September, but it took Guinness World Records until early December to verify the record.
This is not the first time a dog has jumped out of a plane with a parachute, but it is the first time a dog has done so in an anti-poaching operation.
Arrow will not participate in anti-poaching operations, but will be used to determine how to train other dogs.
In a press release, Arrow’s handler Henry Holtshyzen said trust between the two was essential for a jump.
“I jumped out of the helicopter and it was just natural for him to follow me. I rely on him and in turn he relies on me. I’m willing to go into battle with him because I trust him. Trust forms the basis of our relationship and that enables the handler and the K9 relationship to excel,” Holtshyzen said.
Since puppyhood Arrow and Holtshyzen have bonded.
They eat, sleep, and work together to develop the inseparable bond needed to carry out high-pressure anti-poaching tasks together.
Selected as a puppy
“He’s a natural born skydiver and an adrenaline junkie. I was more scared than he was,” Holtshyzen said.
Two-year-old Arrow was selected for the jump as a puppy, because of his temperament.
He was trained to descend from a helicopter by rope, strapped to Holtshyzen and, finally, to skydive.
Arrow is a part of the Paramount Group’s Anti-Poaching and Canine Training Academy in Rustenburg. He is one of 200 specially-bred and trained dogs at the academy. The Paramount Group is an international weapons manufacturer based in South Africa.
According to Save the Rhino, roughly 5 940 rhino have been killed for their horns in Africa since 2008.
In 2015, 1 175 rhinos were poached in South Africa.