Photographed by award-winning Lance van der Vyver from Panthera Photo Safaris.


To perform at their best, it’s vital the dogs are kept at peak condition. Help aid and support one of our local anti-poaching dog units in a high risk rhino poaching area of South Africa.

Here in Hoedspruit, the Southern African Wildlife College is developing canine capabilities in tracking dogs and free-running packs to combat wildlife crime.

They established their K9 unit in 2015 in response to the rising levels of wildlife crime. Rhino poaching in the Greater Kruger in particular called for increased efforts from conservation management teams, which required deploying more Field Rangers with specially trained dogs. Using dogs – both on-leash with handlers and off-leash as free running packs – proved to be a game changer as part of the anti-poaching toolkit and continues to be incredibly effective in helping to combat wildlife crime. 

With the support of the WWF Nedbank Green Trust, their K9 unit came together. Three rows of specially designed kennels were built to house the dogs safely and securely, while accommodation for their Dog Master, trainer, and handlers also went up on site. The unit has undergone upgrades and maintenance over the years to accommodate evolving security demands as well as the arrival of Texan-born and trained high speed tracking dogs, which were added to the unit in 2018. 

The K9 unit was also established with training opportunities in mind. “We want to be able to give our Field Ranger trainees exposure to working with dogs, and to build the operational competency of our dogs and handlers. The more we can train dogs and handlers, the more effectively and efficiently Field Rangers can do their jobs.” Both on-lead and off-leash tracking dogs serve a purpose and statistics show that poacher apprehension grows from under 10% to over 60% when a dog and Ranger team is at play. 

Here at Panthera Photo Safaris, we are donating directly to the African Wildlife College dog unit.

Nature's guardians - Dogs on patrol

Did you know that dogs play an important part in protecting wildlife and stopping poachers in their tracks? Dogs help protect wildlife by deterring, detecting and sometimes even detaining poachers, they are definitely a ranger’s best friend! Anti-poaching teams of dogs and handlers, used alongside other protection measures, are proving extremely effective.


Non-profit organisations like this are doing the tough work it takes to rescue, rehabilitate and conserve some of Africa’s most threatened species and they rely on external sponsors and volunteers to fund their efforts. By funding your time or money, you are directly having a hand in conservation.


This is a way for you to play a direct role in helping wildlife in need. It offers a way to give back and support a cause close to your heart, while making incredible memories.


Founders Kirstin and Lance are hands-on throughout your travel process and are present during your privately-guided journey.


When you participate in a conservation project through us, you can rest assured that you are working with credible, ethical organisations we trust.