Source: BBC (Extract)
Posted: April 20, 2023

A dog trained in Wales helped to save an 18-month-old rhino from poachers in South Africa.

Dan, a one-year-old Belgian malinois, was bred and trained at Dogs 4 Wildlife in Carmarthenshire.

Last week Dan found Viola, a rhino calf that had been caught in a snare in KwaZulu-Natal province with her mother nearby. The pair were both saved.

Dogs 4 Wildlife director Jacqui Law said the diligence the teams on the ground ensured this “good outcome”.

Dogs 4 Wildlife provides trained dogs for anti-poaching units to protect endangered wildlife across Africa.

Dan, one of the organisation’s eight dogs, was deployed to KwaZulu Natal in February and is named after dog-lover Daniel Bridle, from Pembrokeshire.

Mr Bridle died in 2014 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer a year earlier and his mother, Caroline, funded Dan’s training and his deployment to Africa.

Ms Law said this incident was “just one of many heart-breaking incidents of snare poaching that occurs in KwaZulu Natal – many of which do not have a happy outcome”.

She added: “Snare poaching does not discriminate on what species of animals it wounds or kills. This is a torturous method of catching wildlife for bushmeat.”

KwaZulu Natal holds 25% of the remaining world’s population of both black and white rhino, making it a target for poachers after numbers elsewhere have reduced.

The South African province was also used as a location during the filming of The Woman King, released in October 2022. Calf Viola was born during the filming and named after lead actress, Viola Davies.

Junior Blom, canine project manager for Project Rhino said: “We are so pleased that this attempted rhino poaching incident had a positive outcome.

“Snare poaching and increased incidents in KZN with rhino poaching has been devastating. There have been many more incidents and the death of several rhinos have been completely pointless as we have had rhinos shot that have been dehorned four months previously.”