Meet Nkosi and Thula, the anti-poaching pups in training to protect wildlife

This adorable pair of pups are being trained to help stop poaching in South Africa.

Nkosi and Thula, both 14-week-old Bavarian mountain hounds, are being trained for the tough job by not-for-profit organisation, Dogs 4 Wildlife.

Their names are Zulu – Nkosi means king or chief and Thula means peace and tranquillity.

When their training is done, the pair will travel from their native Wales to a reserve that’s yet to be decided.

They recently visited Cumbria Zoo to get familiarised with some wildlife, including a rhino calf – the likes of which the pups will see when they travel to their new home to work.

They were joined on the trip by Darren Priddle, director of Dogs 4 Wildlife, who, along with co-founder Jacqui Law, is training the little cuties to become human scent and detection dogs in the fight against rhino poaching in South Africa.

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Last year, 451 rhinos were poached in South Africa, of which 327 were within government reserves, and 124 were on private property. In the first six months of 2022 alone, 259 rhinos had already been poached.

However, it’s thought that anti-poaching dogs like Nkosi and Thula contribute to reducing incidents of poaching by as much as 75%.

On Nkosi and Thula’s trip to Safari Zoo, Jacqui said: ‘We can’t put into words how truly grateful we are for the amazing support from Safari Zoo and all the staff and customers with our dogs.

‘Our visit truly blew us away on how much time, advertising and engagement they have dedicated to our dogs.’

Sam from Cumbria Zoo Company, which previously helped fund Dogs 4 Wildlife dogs Indy and Kitapo, said: ‘We have been honoured to support the development of Indy and to be able to help with Nkosi and Thula’s training in this way.

‘It’s really amazing to meet these little four-legged heroes and humbling to know what an important role they are going to play in the protection of wildlife and ultimately, in securing a long-term future for many species around the world.’

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