Hi from Askari!

Photo of Askari the tracking dog for KAWDCP 

Askari, the KAWDCP up-and-coming Conservation K9 was born on site at the farms where the project has their base camp in Eastern Namibia. Askari is an “African Village Dog” mix. The Canis Africanis goes back more than 7000 years and are renowned for their tracking.

 Sadly, when ‘Skar’ and his litter mates hit 6 weeks old, they contracted the highly contagious and lethal Parvovirus. Despite relentless efforts to save the litter, the pups succumbed and all were lost within a week… EXCEPT for this special Boy.

 Photo of Askari being trained around goats

The KAWDCP took him in and nursed this little Warrior back to health, which ignited the idea of a Conservation K9! The project has been looking into a K9 team member for a while, and exploring the more well-known breeds, but when this boy came into our lives, we thought let’s stick to our true passion of supporting Mongrel LSGDs and explore Askari's potential.
Nadja Le Roux has outlined what Askari's training will enable KAWDCP to:

- Show obedience, vital in the Bush for his safety and our safety as we work in areas with potentially dangerous wildlife, Elephant, Lion, Leopard etc, we also work in areas with livestock, so part of his Obedience is desensitization to all those distractions, additional to that is some basic on command protection, given the potential dangers we work in.

- Socialization, A newly developed aggression and food aggression after he had some bad experiences with some farm Dogs and its left him a bit defensive now.

 - AWD Scat Detection for presence, diet analysis as well as genetics, additionally Scat at a kill site (HWC) helps us confirm if the animal was predated on by AWDs since there is often a lot of incorrect ID and blame on AWDs.

 - AWD Cadaver Detection/Search, since farmers will dig up the pups from a Den, use the pups to lure back the adult Dogs which are trapped with Gin traps. They will then kill all the pups and any adults and bury the carcasses as well as fill up the dug out Dens to hide the evidence. Unless another Scavenger pulls up the carcasses, we often can’t find them, even when we know they’re there.

 - AWD tracking, often packs here avoid roads as one of their behaviours to avoid humans. We often find that they spread our using game or livestock trails that cross cross over vehicle tracks, making it difficult for us to find each trail and get an estimate on the number of AWDS.

He’s come a long way, imprinted on African Wild Dog early on, he’s now in the next phase of his education with specialized training with Steven Lochner from the TSU K9 Unit K9 Unit | TSUnamibia.

Photo of Askari being trained

Askari represents so much. The first of his kind in AWD Conservation, an ambassador to his breed, a testimony of success, survival and resilience of local breed Dogs and he is of course ready to ‘Back the Pack’!