English bloodhounds help track Kenyan poachers

The lonely Kenya-based bloodhound Bosco, deep in mourning for the loss his mate Judy, is to receive backup from two English hounds being flown out to help in the battle against poachers after a chance encounter with riders on a horse safari.

Giles Sim was riding with Ride World Wide on a safari in June this year, when they stopped at Richard Bonham’s Ol Donyo Wuas Lodge in the Chyulu Hills. On a tour of the stables and grounds Giles was introduced to recently bereaved Bosco, a vital member of the Maasailand Preservation Trust (MPT) counter-poaching team.

With handlers Mutinda, a Wakamba tribesman and poacher-turned-game-scout, and Kilitia, a local Maasai tribesman and MPT game scout with an affinity for animals, the hound unit is used in response to any situation where the dogs’ outstanding tracking skills can be put into action. This varies from tracking game-meat poachers to thieves and even, on two occasions, lost children.

The hounds train six days a week and guests of the Ol Donyo Wuas Lodge and Ride Kenya frequently volunteer to act as fleeing poachers for training purposes.

Gwili Gibbon of the Maasailand Preservation Trust, which funds the hounds, says: ‘They are extremely successful trackers – provided they can get to the site quick enough.’

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Nicola Young of Chyulu Hill’s-based Ride Kenya says, ‘I met Giles when he was riding here, and showed him round the stables and took him to see the bloodhound also. I mentioned that one of ours had died, so the other one was very lonely. Giles said that he could call in a favour with someone who bred bloodhounds and would be keen to help us, so long as he got regular updates. So that’s when he decided to try and get us a pair dogs donated, for which we are incredibly grateful.’