The gearbox has failed in the 20+ year-old Landcruiser. As a stop-gap measure the Lead APU Ranger and canine trainer is relying upon his own personal vehicle to transport the canines until enough funds can be raised to purchase and modify a vehicle that can safely and reliably transport the canines. DONATE

Your contributions to the Give a Truck campaign will be used directly for the purchase and modification of a new truck to transport the canines while on patrol.

Everyone on the ProjectThorn team volunteer their time and receive no compensation from donated funds.

Give a Truck

AmazuluK9 (formally ConservationK9) reached out to ProjectThorn when it was apparent that their current truck had reached it’s limit and repairs were no longer feasible as a long-term solution for their need.

The unit needs a reliable vehicle to patrol the property and respond to incursions.

Their current Landcruiser has lasted over 20 years and 400,000 km of hard off-road driving. It is tired and needs to retire.

Canines can be highly specialized in their specific training or they can be trained for more generalized service.

The Patrol units consists of one shepard, 2 malinois, and a scent hound. One of the malinois and the shepard are hot-scent trackers (trail is <3 hours) and are trained to exclusively track human suspects, detect firearms and ammunition and have the ability to restrain and detain suspects by force if required. The second malinois is trained to perform vehicle searches to detect and seize contriband.

The Patrol Canine requires 5 levels of training and certification before being allowed to patrol.

The scent hound is a cold scent (scent trail >3 hours) and is trained to track animals, detect animal remains and snares by scenting, to locate wounded animals and assist wildlife vets.

Our goal is to protect as many of these animals as we can through funding tangible projects to prevent poaching. And by doing so, we will help all those that depend upon the presence of the rhino in the bush to maintain biodiversity, prevent reserve incursions, and detect snares.

This isn’t one of our founding principles. It has just happened to work out that way so far.

And who doesn’t love the idea of animals helping animals?

Sometimes animals are just best suited for the job. Canines see with their noses. They don’t need night vision binoculars, drones, and other special equipment to locate their target – they just have the natural ability to trail and detect.

Our last big program was to reinstate an Anti-Poaching Horse Patrol at the oldest wildlife park in all of Africa. The park was established and is credited for bringing the white rhino back from the brink of extinction once after a population was discovered in KwaZulu-Natal.

Why Horses? The horses move through the bush terrain quickly, efficiently, and without disturbing the wildlife, which made them an important asset for the APU Rangers at Hluhluwe iMfolozi National Park.

The canines patrol 3 reserves about 2 hours north of where the horses are on patrol in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa near the border of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and Mozambique.

Although the dogs will be housed and cared for by one reserve, they will be utilized across a larger territory that covers 50,000 hectares of bush territory (that is nearly 125,000 acres or the equivalent of the entire Golden Gate Recreational Area in Marin County).

There are a number of articles about canines working in conservation. Here are a couple.

NPR highlighted the role of canines in protecting rhino on World Ranger Day. To read or listen >>

This Metro article talks about the training, working environment, and retirement for an APU canine named Shinga. The article contains a short video of Shinga’s training.

The South African Department of Environmental Affairs produced a full report including effective APU guidelines. A large section outlines the important roles canines and horses fill in APU units. Read more >>

The care of the canines will become the responsibility of the reserve after the first year.

There are a few key reason that necessitate the partnership.

First of all is that we are here and it is difficult to provide oversight from 9 time zones away. We have worked with 12 Hours on both the Hornucopia Horse Patrol and for the RhinoArt project. They are a trusted partner that shares our philosophy of finding tangible projects to prevent poaching.

Second, since donations are tax deductible we need to insure that the funds are being used as intended. By partnering with an accredited South African NPO, the transfer of funds adheres to US tax code.

(NPO – Non Profit Organization)

Yes! We have partnered with Inquiring Systems, Inc as our nonprofit 501c3 fiscal sponsor to accept tax deductible donations.

Please consider making a donation.

If you don’t want or need your donation to be tax-deductible because you take the standard deduction or you don’t live in the US, please consider making your donation on our Give a Truck campaign on the Epic GivenGain fundraising platform. This will maximize your donation by eliminating fiscal sponsorship fee.

This project has always been about spreading awareness about the plight of the rhino and other poached and trafficked wildlife. Please share this project on social media.

If you know of people who work in journalism, the canine industry, tourism, wildlife conservation, the arts etc. please make them aware of this project.

Long-term, we would like to establish an independent non-profit organization to continue anti-poaching conservation efforts. If you have experience with start-up non-profit organizations we would greatly appreciate your assistance.

Contact the ProjectThorn team with ideas of how you would like to help.

If you have additional questions or would like to suggest an addition, please do not hesitate to contact us either via email or the Connect page on our website.