The illegal wildlife trade generates some tens of billions of dollars annually. Taking this dollar value and looking at the cost to animal life that it represents is a rather sickening experience. Across the world, animals like the African elephant,  Sumatran tiger, and rhinos are being pushed to the edge of extinction as the result of this cruel, lucrative trade.

According to PRI, a single rhino horn can sell for up to $30,000 a pound…that’s higher than the price of gold! This high pay-off has driven poachers to extraordinary lengths to illegally hunt rhinos. In fact, poachers are even venturing their way into protected animal sanctuaries to get their hands on these “prized goods.”

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To help protect rhinos in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in East Africa, rangers are enlisting dogs to help bolster the sanctuary’s defense against poachers.

Working on the Ol Pejeta’s “anti-poaching” team, these dogs are trained to track intruders and are fitted with ballistic body armor. Becoming pseudo-super heroes, these conservation dogs are taught to move with amazing agility and to dodge bullets.

While the smiling faces of these Belgian Malinois may give the appearance that tail-wagging and licks are their only form of attack, these dogs are poised to become Ol Pejeta’s greatest defense against illegal rhino poaching.

Image source: Ol Pejeta Conservancy

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