The South African National Parks (SANParks) is relieved that one of its beloved tracker dogs was found after disappearing after finding poachers.
SANParks spokesperson Ike Phaahla said three-year-old Duke, a Doberman-hound cross, who is known for being good at following spoor over a long distance in difficult terrain, disappeared on Tuesday.
He was with a team of rangers following three suspected poachers and had led the team to their hideout.
“Upon discovering they had been spotted, the poachers fired at the Ranger Corps and in the confusion his harness and satellite collar fell off and that is how he became lost, but thankfully he was found safe and sound except being shaken from spending the night away from familiar surroundings,” said Phaahla.
News that’s Duke was missing was shared all over social media specially in Kruger National Park groups, to help find him before he was injured or became prey to the wild roaming animals.
SANParks later confirmed that Duke had been found, he was found at Mazithi Dam severally dehydrated but safe and sound.
Wild Wing Safari shared the story on how they spotted Duke on their Facebook page:
“The adventures of Duke of the Bushveld. What a great story! One of the anti-poaching tracking dogs, Duke, went missing yesterday in the Kruger National Park just north of Tshokwane after a contact with poachers and shots were fired. He pulled himself out of his harness with satelite collar and ran off. Teams of rangers were trying to find him. An urgent message was put out to safari guides and tourists to be on the lookout for Duke. Spending a night in the bush can be very dangerous for a tracking dog.This morning, our guide Simon found Duke during their morning game drive, alive and unharmed! He was loaded into the OSV (open safari vehicle) and safely returned to the rangers. What a joyful reunion! A big shout-out and thank you to Duke and our brave rangers for keeping our wildlife safe from poachers!
Phaahla said the poachers were arrested and found in possession of a high-calibre hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment.
Nobody was injured.
“Charges have been laid with the police and includes the illegal possession of a weapon, ammunition and trespassing in a national park with the intent to commit a crime,” said Phaahla.
Read our story of the tracking dogs which were brought over from America here,