In 2009 the Canine Training Academy teamed up with the Mara Conservancy and their anti-poaching unit to establish a Bloodhound unit to assist Rangers cracking down on poachers in the game reserve. After many emails and gathering information about the Ranger units needs, the Canine Training Academy agreed to take on the trailing dog project for the Conservancy. We spent a total of 5 months training 2 young Bloodhounds in the US. When foundation training was complete, we took the dogs to Kenya and spent 4 weeks training handlers. We returned to Kenya 6 weeks after the initial training to assist the newly trained handlers to work the dogs on actual poaching deployments. The program so far has been a success. The K9 Unit has apprehended 9 poachers so far with the assistance of the tracking dogs. The project is still going through some growing pains and Rangers and handlers will need to continue to adjust deployment routines to incorporate the new dogs but with the diligent efforts from the unit we are certain they will continue to be successful. We will be checking back next summer with them to see how things are progressing. Meanwhile they continue to keep us updated on captures and training. Please go to: http://www.maratriangle.org/tracker-dog-unit/
to view more about the project.
to the program are always appreciated and very
much needed to support conservation efforts in the park.
Mara K9 Unit Updates:
Date Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 10:50AM
Kisumu Ndogo on Feb. 21, 2010 from 11:30AM-1:00PMThe patrol team went on their daily chores of patrol when they went to a former hideout camp for poachers in a bush along the Mara River specifically a place commonly known as “Kisumu Ndogo”. The rangers entered into the thicket silently and after about 30 minutes three rangers headed to the former poacher camp and found out that the poachers were at their world having killed a hippo plus some warthogs and they were busy drying up the meat.
The rangers eventually dashed to arrest but managed to arrest one poacher on the spot and chased two for some distance when other rangers involved in the patrol arrived and arrested other two that were being chased. The rest disappeared and could not be traced hen the dog was deployed on one of the trails and after about 1.5 hours of tracking, Morani went straight into a poachers who buried himself under grass along the river. An arrest was made and the dog was praised. Four arrested poachers were taken to Kivuko ranger host, who would have to take the suspect to court.
Shadrack Sabaya –Canine Unit Leader
Tracker Dog Unit- Case Report 5 (by Sabaya)
Deployment on Jan 27, 2010
The patrol team from Ngiro-are left at 8:00AM for patrol along Mara River. They saw poachers who were fishing on the other side of the river. On seeing the rangers, the poachers sneaked into a thicket and left their belongings including fishing nets and followed a stream up on the other side of the river towards Machewechewe. Immediately both the handlers and the other rangers carried the dog across the Mara River and started Morani right on the fresh trail. The dog had a very high drive hence moved very fast and after tracking for about 3 km, he found the poachers hiding in the tall grass and 3 poachers were arrested. Poachers were taken to Tarime by the Tanzanian rangers and fined.
Shadrack Sabaya –Canine Unit Leader
Tracker Dog Unit-27th January 2010:
The Ngiro-are K9 unit had another deployment to track poachers across the Mara river to the Tanzanian side at a place known as Ingira. It was indeed a very good track that was least contaminated and the handlers carried Bloodhound MORANI across the river to start the track. The drive of the dog was very high and they tracked for a distance of about 3km when the dog made a clean find of three poachers. Team Leader Sabaya congratulated the handlers plus the rangers for a job well done. Sabaya informs us that the training program is going on very well.
Update provided by Olongui Sabaya, Ngiro-are K9 unit leader, Kenya Africa
November 30th, 2009. Mara Monthly Report:
Both Morani and Memusi (K9s) are thriving and are being used on patrols, in one instance witnessed by the Chief Executive, Memusi located a person who had hidden in a water course to evade arrest. Congratulations
to the Dog handlers and all the new Rangers that completed their recent Ranger training.
Tracker Dog Update Date: Monday, November 2, 2009:
It’s now five whole months since the inception of the dog unit. It’s indeed incredible how fast time flies. I believe it’s a good time to reflect on past events as well as foster a head. At the dog unit, we are doing both. Both Memusi and Morani are well acclimatized with the new environment and they are now more of Ngiro-are than of Colorado. In the month of September, Morani fell ill and was taken to Nairobi for veterinary check-up and treatment. Since then, he registered a remarkable improvement and works better and with a lot of drive than ever before. On the other hand, Memusi is more resistant and his health trend has been exceptionally good. The handlers monitor closely for the health progress of the dogs. This actually includes amount of food eaten by each dog at a time, body temperature of each dog and the excretion rate. On the side of performance and exercises, the canine team does believe in practice for improvement and perfection. It then goes without mention that we involve the dogs and the handlers into rigorous tracking exercises. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are our scheduled days for the exercises. Any other day particularly when we arrest poachers serves as a perfect opportunity for us to train. We are proud to say this is making a difference! In a nutshell, the dog unit is fairing on well and it’s our sincere hope that it will do even better. We acknowledge a fact that “it takes time to succeed because success is merely a natural reward of taking time to do something”. Sabaya Shadrack. October 31st, 2009
Mara K9 Unit Report 3
A Report on Deployment at ******* Lodge on August 8, 2009
from 9:45-11:30AM The handlers got a report of a theft incident at the above mentioned camp. The team was immediately dispatched to the scene. On reaching there and after a brief interrogation the team learnt that the incident took place the previous night at about 7:00PM. The tent where the theft was carried out from was number ****. Among the people interviewed by the team included the very room steward who identified himself as *******. The camp manager and his assistant was also present. Having gathered crucial information on the matter, Morani was deployed and after a little while it picked up a track that crossed the fence towards the airstrip of ******* Lodge. At about half a kilometer run, the dog made a circle and subsequently headed towards a nearby thicket. Right at the circled area, was a foot print that was seen by the handlers who also played a role on visual trackers. On the other side of the thicket, the replica of the previous footprint was once again seen. This further confirmed the direction followed by the suspect. This was around a village “manyatta” and suddenly the trail was cut short by an enormous contamination by a large herd of cattle emanating from the same village. Observation/Conclusion: From the above narration, it can be said that the wrong doer sneaked into the compound from outside or at least left the compound via the fence as detected by the canine. -The scene was also less contaminated since the dog was able to pick up the scent that lasted for about 12 hours. Recommendation: It can be suggested that the presumed entrance into the tent be guarded even the more. The canine team should also be notified of the incident immediately. (Note: the earlier the better) Shadrack Sabaya –Canine Unit Leader
Mara K9 Unit Report 2
A Report on Deployment at Enkiu on August 5, 2009
from 2:00-5:00PM While at patrol in “Nyumba Nanne” forest, the canine team and the rangers from Ngiro-are obtained information from “charlie 1”(community scout) through the control of poachers seen engulfing a buffalo at Enkiu just at the foot of the escarpment. Immediately the team arrived at the venue and on arriving at the venue, a culprit dashed along the escarpment and disappeared from the vicinity. Memusi was deployed on the fresh trail to pursue the suspect. The dog locked much easily and after about two kilometers walk, the handlers and the rangers saw the very poacher at a reasonably close distance and hence advanced to make an arrest. The suspect however climbed on the hill and the chase continued even to the other side of the escarpment. The arrest was therefore made on the village of Partakila and the guys in the handcuffs identified himself as **************. Observation: The arrested person was armed with a sword and a very sharp spear plus “rungu” (club). This was a dangerous for all. On seeing the suspect, the handlers held back the dog for he had completed his part. Well done handlers and Memusi. The terrain was horrible, with thorns and stones (Memusi got injured during this deployment) The community scout (Charlie 1) did pretty well job, Bravo! Shadrack Sabaya –Canine Unit Leader
Mara K9 Unit Report 1
A Report on Poacher Tracking on July 8, 2009 The Canine Team received a report of a poacher that was seen by the Narok rangers at Serena Island. At about 10:30AM, the team was dispatched from their base at Ngiro-are to the alleged scene. On reaching to the scene, the team was met with both the Mara Conservancy and some Narok County Council rangers ready to work in unison with the Dog unit. After a brief interview with the Narok rangers, who witnessed the departure of the poachers, the handlers noted a foot print that was right at the bank of the Mara river. It was however unfortunate that the track was extremely contaminated by the rangers who tried to pursue the suspect. All the same, the handlers decided to start their canine on the mark of the foot print and the canine made several struggles and had to cross he river a number of times. At some points, the handlers helped the dogs to cross the river. After a hectic and rigorous search that took about 2 hours, the dog picked up a track and advanced towards a poachers’ camp or hideout and it was then that the rangers moved forward and arrested one poacher on the spot. On interrogating the suspect, the team learnt that four other poachers had already sneaked and hid themselves into the thicket. The dog was further started to pursue the suspects and it took the canine a short time to figure out the track which actually went across the river. The dog at this point had a very strong drive that led him across the river and he went straight to find three poachers who buried themselves in very thick grass just at the bank of the river. Both the handlers and other stakeholders involved were glad for it was unimagined success. Shadrack Sabaya –Canine Unit Leader
The Mara conservancy now has 8 new members that will be starting training in January.
These are the next generation of tracking dogs for the unit.
As we close 2010, the Mara K9s have assisted in capturing a total of 32 poachers since 2009.
Congratulations! We hope the puppies will be as successful in 2011 and years to come. Keep up the good work.
We are back from a 3 month training class in Kenya. The goal was to train the new puppies. Four of the 7 made it through the rigorous training process and are doing well. The handler still have some training do to but the new K9s should be ready for feild deployments in a couple of months.
In November we wrote an article for Police K9 Magazine
about our experience in Kenya. You can download it HERE.
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