RCB’s new rhino protection dogs will be valued members of the team.

In 2018, two highly trained dogs will join Rhino Conservation Botswana (RCB) to help us protect Botswana’s rhinos.

The pair of malinois (or Belgian shepherds) will be the first K9 (canine) team to work as ‘Rhino Guardians’ in Botswana, where they will join our monitoring teams and the government’s Anti-Poaching Unit on special patrols.

Malinois are perfect for this type of work – intelligent, loyal, agile, sturdy and equally skilled at tracking, detecting, guarding and apprehending.

The addition of these dogs to our monitoring teams will greatly improve our vigilance and ability to keep Botswana’s rhinos safe from the cruel and senseless trade in rhino horn.


The rhino protection dogs’ specialist training will begin at three months old. The pups will learn the same search, track and attack skills as other protection and detection dogs, but they will experience the sights and sounds of Africa thanks to regular visits to a British zoo.

Their training will be carried out by Daryll Pleasants, a former trainer of military dogs for the British Army and founder of Animals Saving Animals.

The dogs will be taken to their new home in Botswana next summer, where they will be introduced to the rhino monitoring officers who will be their new handlers. RCB’s new K9 teams will then learn and grow together. The creation of a specialist Dog Squad is expected to be a powerful deterrent to wildlife criminals.

Animals Saving Animals trains dogs to be deployed with anti-poaching units across Africa. Here, a dog called ‘Caesar’ shows off his flexibility in apprehending criminals from any direction.

“One well-trained dog can cover as much ground in a night as eight officers, making it much harder for wildlife criminals to evade detection. There is no escaping these dogs.”
— Daryll Pleasants, Animals Saving Animals

Once the Anti-Poaching Unit has apprehended a poaching suspect, the dogs will be trained to walk between their legs to the vehicle in order to encourage compliance. 


As any dog-owner will know, it can be expensive to keep your much-loved companion happy and healthy, and provide for all its needs. Working dogs have even more specialist needs.

On top of the usual food and vaccinations, each rhino protection dog will need a cool and safe kennel, full body armour for protection against unscrupulous poachers, and a GPS tracker in case it becomes separated from its handlers during an incident.


The cost of acquiring, training and equipping the two dogs is kindly being covered by The Real Africa Trust, the charitable arm of the UK travel company Real Africa.

You can help Real Africa to raise the funds for RCB’s dogs by buying tickets for Explorers Against Extinction – a fantastic evening at London’s Royal Geographic Society on 12 October 2017 featuring world travellers, adventurers and conservationists including Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Colonel John Blashford-Snell. Or you can buy unique wildlife art by professional artists and celebrities at their online auction from now until 15 October.

support our dogs

We want to give RCB’s hard-working dogs the best care and conditions. Once they arrive in Botswana, they will need special snake-proof kennels, high quality food, specialist veterinary care, and unique equipment. And each year, the dogs and their handlers will need refresher training sessions with Daryll to make sure they are still operating at the highest level possible.

Can you help us with these costs?

Yes, I want to help support RCB’s dog squad


Please keep an eye on our News pages for regular updates on our rhino protection dogs.