K9 Unit

K9 Unit (Duke)

We have a Belgian Malinois dog (named “Duke”) currently being trained by the “Animals Saving Animals” team in Texas (USA) for tracking and anti-poaching work. We take delivery of Duke in January 2021, and he will initially be based on our ship (Modoc). He will be deployed in tracking people in Costa Rica’s National Parks. This will be in finding people operating illegally in the jungle, or in “Search and Rescue” (SAR) missions to locate lost or injured tourists.

In terms of Anti-Poaching work, a competent K9 unit (Dog and Handler) has many advantages. Firstly it can make jungle operations more effective, by locating people quickly. Many offenders that would often escape, now get apprehended. Secondly, and for a number of reasons, it makes operations safer. Consider the arrest of a poacher hunting wildlife – If caught, they face considerable punishment that can include hefty fines and imprisonment. Many potential arrests of such people has led to conflicts involving firearms, machetes and knives. A number of suspects and Rangers have been killed over the years, and recent trends suggest this problem is getting worse. Suspects, when faced with a snarling dog on a leash, are much more likely to comply with Ranger instructions. In addition, the Rangers have greater awareness because of the dog’s ability to smell and hear people nearby. The dogs are trained to send visible cues, giving the handler an indication of how close the team is to a person being tracked. So the Ranger team is much less likely to just stumble blindly into people in the jungle, or more significantly, an ambush.

The Belgian Malinois has recently become the preferred choice of anti-poaching and law enforcement units. The dogs are extremely athletic. They are fast, powerful and agile. You’ll get an idea of this from the videos below. They are also extremely hard-working. Anti-poaching work can be gruelling, and only dogs with a strong work ethic are worth deploying in such roles. Belgian Malinois dogs have the capacity to work incredibly hard for a competent and trusted handler. They have very good noses and ears for tracking people. They are intelligent, again a trait necessary in good tracking dogs. All up, a well selected and trained Belgian Malinois dog, when combined with a competent handler, can become a formidable asset in our work to protect Costa Rica’s National Parks.  If you’d like to follow the progress of Duke, then subscribe to our newsletter, or follow one of our social media platforms below.

Our K9 Unit is in part sponsored by the US / UK Non-Profit called “Animals Saving Animals”.  They have trained and deployed K9 units to a number of conservation hotspots around the world, and our team is extremely grateful that they are now supporting our campaign in Costa Rica.  One of their more famous dogs,”Diego”, is featured in the video below.  The “Animals Saving Animals” team will be joining us in January 2021 for Handler training and the handover of “Duke”.


Here’s a great video of Diego, one of the more famous Anti-Poaching dogs in Africa.


This video shows you just how talented, athletic and capable these dogs are.

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