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Rescue Dogs to the Rescue in Africa

Anti-poaching efforts in the western Serengeti include canine units that help the ecosystem by deterring poachers from entering protected areas. Read more about Vista Outdoor’s conservation partners African Community and Conservation Foundation and the Grumeti Fund.

The Grumeti Fund’s Canine Unit is a dedicated detection and tracking dog unit, who, along with their skilled handlers, are committed to an ongoing quest to stay one step ahead of poachers. Dogs assist their human partners with speed and scent – doing what humans can’t do. Word quickly gets around when people find out the dogs’ ability to apprehend poachers in the field – which also serves as a deterrent. According to Grumeti’s 2019 Impact report, 246 poachers were arrested. 15 of those arrests were made by the canine unit.

Four rescue dogs from the United States, who would have otherwise been euthanized, were selected for the Grumeti Fund Canine Unit. The dogs were trained side-by-side with their handlers for four months. On a training visit to see the dogs’ progress, Chris Aycock, president of the American Society of Canine Trainers had this to say about the canine unit, “We met at the headquarters for a final meeting. I told the teams that they exceeded my expectations of growth. I encouraged them to do some training in higher grasses so they and the dogs are very familiar with odor variations in those environments. I do not say with any self-pride but rather fact that the six handlers and four canines at Grumeti could serve anywhere in the world and match or top the performances of others.”

Game scout holding dog.
Grumeti Fund – Serengeti – Tanzania. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay