Anti-poaching dog survives lion attack

Anti-poaching dog survives lion attack

Outdoors

Anti-poaching dog survives lion attack

Like police dogs put to work in big cities, anti-poaching dogs assigned to wilderness outposts are placed in perilous situations as part of their daily routines.

Keenly aware of this fact are the handlers of Akita, a female Malinois shepherd who is recovering from her latest brush with death at the hands of an African lion.

Akita three weeks after being attacked by a lion. Photo: Johan de Beer

The lion pounced on Akita last month as the 8-year-old shepherd tracked rhinoceros poachers inside South Africa’s Kruger National Park. She was mauled so severely that she wasn’t expected to survive.

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But three weeks after the incident, Akita began to resemble her old self, except for the scars that she’ll carry forever.

“She’s back up and running already,” Johan de Beer, kennel manager for Kruger’s canine anti-poaching division, wrote in a Nov. 10 Facebook post. “Quite hard to believe.”

The anti-poaching dog is up and running less than a month after being attacked by a lion. Photo: Johan de Beer

Remarkably, according to the regional publication Lowvelder, Akita is already carrying gear and may soon resume the fight against rhino poachers.

However, The Telegraph quotes Theresa Sowry, who runs the company that supplies dogs to South African National Parks, that Akita will likely be retired.

According to the Telegraph, the lion attack might not have been the dog’s most serious brush with death. In March of 2017, Akita was gored in the stomach by a kudu antelope’s horn, and survived thanks to a rapid airlift operation and emergency surgery.

Akita was pursuing rhino poachers when the lion pounced. Photo: Johan de Beer

Said Sowry: “These dogs are just amazing… and contribute to many of the anti-poaching successes in the last few years. We could not do without them.”

Rhinos are poached extensively for their ivory horns and conservation groups and game wardens are trying to prevent their extinction.

The group Save the Rhino states that 1,028 rhinos were poached throughout South Africa in 2017. That’s down slightly from 2016, but still represents about three rhinos per day being slaughtered.

–Images are courtesy of Johan de Beer

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