Two new Belgian Malinois dogs have been welcomed into the SWT fold, both handpicked out of many hundreds, and imported to Kenya from the Netherlands. We are looking to boost our Canine Unit to help complement further the SWT/ KWS field teams in their pursuit to keep Tsavo safe.
The dogs arrived in Kenya on the KLM flight early morning of 8th June and we had arranged for the Government Vet to process all requirements through customs while our Canine Unit Master and team waited expectantly to meet their new charges. Despite their long flight they arrived in remarkably good spirits and condition, and thankfully the whole process of clearance at the airport took less than 1 hour.
Once the dogs were handed over into our care the team saw to it that they had a good walk around to stretch their legs, a hearty meal and water, before they began the next leg of their journey down to Tsavo to our Canine Unit headquarters within Tsavo East National Park. Safe in the SWT Canine Unit customised vehicle they began the 240 +km trip, finally arriving on site at 12.00pm. With the other dogs at the Unit safely locked away in their kennels our two newcomers were let out of their travel kennels and introduced to their new home.
They were excited by their new surroundings and all the new sights and smells, which was certainly a far cry from where they had come from just 24 hours earlier, and they still appeared remarkably fresh for what had been a long journey. Zora and Aya are both females handpicked for us by K9 Invictus, and now that they have safely landed it is our intention to embark on stringent additional training with these two beautiful dogs so that we can further hone their skills to best suit the needs and requirements of the Kenya Wildlife Service and the SWT/KWS De-Snaring Teams within the Tsavo landscape.
Since their arrival they have been exercising and acclimatising to their new home, and have adapted remarkably well. They appear to love their new environment and their extremely comfortable, functional new home. While ongoing training and development has happened every day since their arrival, the more stringent training is set to begin on 25th June, and it is our hope that, in the fullness of time, both Zora and Aya become invaluable assets to the security teams and management of Tsavo National Park.