(Addo) – The two canine members of Addo Elephant National Park’s (AENP) ranger corps are now equally protected from life-threatening situations, like their human counterparts, thanks to the donation of bullet proof vests from integrated risk solutions company, Quemic. In addition to this, the company also donated two trauma/first aid kits specifically for the dogs, as well as dog food for an entire year.
Quemic’s Regional Ranger in the Western Cape, Nikki Haynes, was born in Addo when his father, Mike Haynes, was the Hospitality Services Manager in the Park. Mike heard about Addo’s need for the items at a demonstration with the dogs about two months ago and thought it was an ideal opportunity for Nikki to get involved, as the company he works for, Quemic, already provides firearm training to SANParks’ Environmental Monitors. The company is also involved in anti-rhino poaching operations with private landowners and other nature conservation agencies.
Quemic’s Director, Gerrit Lamprecht and Nikki were on hand to personally hand the safety equipment and food over to the dogs and their handlers in the Park. The vests, trauma/first aid kits and food is valued at over R130 000.
“If one is personally involved in nature conservation, as we are through our business, you know the landscape and try to help wherever you can. All of us in the nature fraternity need to look out for one another, irrespective of the size of our organisations. And for me, personally, this was just the perfect fit, given my history with and in Addo,” said Nikki.
Addo’s two canine rangers, Banshee and Bandit, are about five years old and provide sniffing and tracking support to the rangers. Bandit, provided to AENP by the Endangered Wildlife Trust, and Banshee will now be kitted out in their bullet proof vests while on duty, protected from gunshot wounds and knife attacks. Their handlers will be given training on how to use the dogs’ trauma/first aid kits, which are advanced enough to sustain them until they reach a veterinarian.
AENP Conservation Manager, John Adendorff, says “We cannot tell you how grateful we are for your handover today. We want to give our dogs everything we can to ensure their safety, as we do with our rangers. They are integral to our operations and today’s sponsorship ensures that they have the best protection when they’re in the field.”