The role of dogs in the fight against poaching

The anti-poaching dogs trained right here in West Wales

Yesterday we celebrated the fantastic work rangers do across the world to keep wild animals safe. We hope our visitors enjoyed our World Ranger Day celebrations and taking part in our new Rhino Ranger trail. But there’s a serious conservation message behind these fun activities.

We’re proud to support two fantastic organisations that are helping to protect rhinos, and other animals, in the wild – Save the Rhino and Extremus Dog Training Ltd.

Save the Rhino

We have been supporting Save the Rhino’s Dog Squad project since our rhino reserve opened in 2015. The money we raise goes towards training dogs to help rangers protect rhinos across four wildlife conservancies in Kenya.

Extremus Dog Training Ltd

There’s an amazing company right here in west Wales that’s helping the fight against poaching by training anti-poaching dogs. We’ve been supporting the work of Extremus for a few years by allowing access to some of the animals they’re being trained to protect. Where else in Wales could they get the chance to meet Giraffes, Lions and Rhinos!

Darren rhino dog handler

Darren with his dog Rogue and Manyara in our Kifaru Reserve house

Darren Priddle, from Extremus, said;

“Without Folly Farm allowing us access to their magnificent animals, we would not be able to desensitise our anti-poaching dogs to the animals they will be protecting and living alongside across Africa, at such an early age. This is one of the most important aspects of effective foundations in training anti-poaching dogs. Working with Folly Farm, who is also heavily involved in conservation efforts, gives us the ability to raise more awareness and encourage younger generations to become actively involved in protecting wildlife around the world. Education is paramount if we are to save and protect critically endangered species. Being able to build positive associations alongside conditioning a calm state of mind in the presence of Folly Farm’s animals from such an early age is crucial in giving our anti-poaching dogs the ability to effectively work in catching poachers, and protecting the other animals under their care, without distraction or concern”.

Diego the rhino dog

Hugo seems more interested in Diego!

Tim Morphew, zoo curator here at Folly Farm, added;

“Working with organisations such as Save the Rhino and Extremus is one step in the fight against poaching but education is the key to conservation. We’re lucky enough to welcome 500,000 visitors to Folly Farm each year so we have a captive audience to spread the message to! We hope by shining a light on the amazing work both organisations do training dogs in the fight against poaching, combined with seeing our magnificent rhino in the flesh, will inspire our visitors to join the fight.”

Rhino dog meets a giraffe

Darren and Heidi meet Sillian

Zoo Membership

We're proud to be members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Our membership means we share knowledge with leading zoos across the UK and Europe, and we learn from them too.