If you love dogs and wildlife then this story is right up your street! Animal Friends have been supporting the work of the David Shepherd Wildlife foundation for the past 15 years. One project in India has benefited from the support of the DSWF through the purchase of cameras. Proven to be working especially well recently, in a case which covers both wild animals and man’s best friend, Jorba; the super pooch that puts poachers in the picture! Rhino poaching is a severe threat in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, Asia. Because of this, alongside other key factors in the project, cameras and dogs have been used, already proving vital in the prevention of poaching in the area.
Here is the story of Jorba and his life-saving role.
Camera traps are now used to count the number and variety of animals living in one space. In Kaziranga, as in other national parks throughout India, they are used mainly for the annual tiger census but are important for capturing information about the other animals in the park too, including prey species. As tigers have different stripe patterns on each side, two cameras are set up opposite each other so there can be no doubt that you are recording the right tiger. The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation funds the cameras in Kaziranga.
When two would-be rhino poachers triggered a camera trap they were quick to react by ripping the cameras out of the ground and throwing them into the deep water nearby, believing they would get away with it. Not at this base, rangers patrol the area with Jorba – one very special, very well-trained dog supported in the UK by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF).
Working to protect endangered species Jorba and his handler were sent out on patrol to investigate, as the team knew the missing cameras meant activity in the area, something which had to be stopped (either that or an elephant had kicked it out of place). Jorba was soon on the scent and one of the cameras was fished out of the water. It was a great result but, even better, the pictures inside remained undamaged and clear images of the poachers were soon in the hands of the investigators.
This teamwork will continue to help the Rhino as in 2012, 668 rhino were killed for their horn in South Africa alone. The crisis has been spiralling out of control as the price for rhino horn soars to £40,000 per kilo. The rhino horn trade is illegal but still it continues. Many believe, wrongly, that rhino horn can cure different illnesses from hangovers to cancer. But rhino horn is made from Keratin – the same stuff that your hair and fingernails are made of. Since Jorba was introduced to the wildlife crime investigation team in Kaziranga, he has helped secure the arrest of 30 poachers. A great result made possible through the generosity of DSWF supporters and, of course, the skill of Jorba and his handler.