Montego Pet Nutrition proud sponsor of canine heroes protecting Africa’s wildlife

Four dogs laying next to Montego Dog food packets

Canine companions are our best friends in the quest to conserve Africa’s wildlife. Training dogs to work alongside human handlers has proven an indispensable strategy, especially in the realm of counter-wildlife trafficking efforts, where our furry friends’ superhuman sense of smell is deployed to assist across a wide range of tasks. These highly trained specialist dogs help wildlife and border protection authorities with tracking, and to detect the presence of wildlife contraband, including illegal bushmeat, even from a distance.

Leading pet food nutrition brand Montego Pet Nutrition recently pledged and delivered a hearty donation of its renowned Karoo Kibble All Breed premium adult dog food, to the value of almost R100 000, toward the African Wildlife Foundation’s (AWF) mission: to preserve wildlife and wild lands in modern Africa. The Karoo kibble donation was delivered to the ANAC (Mozambique Airports Company) canine unit that is supported by AWF and the Peace Parks Foundation.

AWF is one of the largest and oldest African international conservation organisations based in and focused solely on Africa. AWF’s underlying belief is that protecting wildlife and their habitats is an essential aspect of a modern and prosperous Africa.

“Montego’s generous gift of their super-premium Karoo brand dog food is a great aid in support of our Resilient Africa – Resilient Planet campaign: an initiative that aims to amplify African-led conservation efforts, and promote nature-based economies,” says Didi Wamukoya, AWF’s director: Counter Wildlife Trafficking Programme. “The quality ingredients keep the detection dogs happy, healthy and in peak physical condition.”

She explains that the donation is being used to feed dogs participating in the Canines for Conservation programme, in which AWF has successfully collaborated with state wildlife authorities and border protection agencies to curb poaching and illegal trafficking in Africa since 2015. Together with the Wildlife Judicial and Prosecutorial Assistance Training and Emerging Crimes programmes, the canines programme is an important component of AWF’s counter-wildlife trafficking efforts.

Currently operating in Botswana, Cameroon, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda, these canine units have been instrumental in detecting and ultimately bringing to justice poachers and traffickers of ivory, pangolin scales, lion claws and bushmeat, among other contraband.

Punching above their weight in terms of their contribution to the anti-poaching cause, AWF-supported, canine-augmented task teams search tens of thousands of cars and flights, and millions of items of cargo and luggage each year. Between July 2022 and June 2023, they led to the arrest of over 60 traffickers and poachers, caught red-handed with contraband in tow. During that time, the teams also recovered 410kg of raw ivory, 120 pieces of ivory souvenirs, 12kg of pangolin scales and 65 lion claws, among other finds, tragically – often brutally – stolen from their animal owners.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to contribute toward protecting our precious natural heritage. We believe that wildlife and the natural environment are the true wealth of Africa. We’re amazed, and deeply touched by the profound impact our donation has had thus far, in assisting these heroic hounds in their wildlife conservation duties,” says Deanna February, communications manager at Montego Pet Nutrition.

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