India is Training German Shepherds to Protect Endangered Cheetahs


In India, conservationists have a secret weapon: an elite team of German shepherds that’s currently being trained to protect cheetahs and other endangered wildlife from poachers.

At last count, 74 dogs were in training with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police at Bhanu, according to the Hindustan Times. Some of the program’s most recent graduates will be stationed around India’s Kuno National Park. There, the dogs will focus on protecting a family of cheetahs, which were discovered to have given birth to four brand-new cubs just last week. These canines will function as a sort of border guard, preventing poachers from entering the park.

Other German shepherds are being trained to hunt down poachers after they’ve made off with their quarry. These dogs are currently scent training with tiger skin, ivory, and antelope horns, which will allow them to detect shipments of illegal goods and help crack down on the illegal animal trade.

The cheetah cubs were first spotted on Wednesday in Kuno National Park, but are believed to have been born about a week ago, according to the BBC. The cubs’ parents were brought over to India from Namibia last fall, along with a handful of other Namibian cheetahs. A group of 12 more cheetahs from South Africa joined them last month as part of a big new rewilding effort.

India has made other efforts to try to reintroduce cheetahs, the BBC reported, but few have been very successful. So, the birth of these cute cubs is a huge step forward for the country’s Project Cheetah — so much so that Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented on the event, calling it “wonderful news.”

We’re excited to follow these cubs as they grow up, especially considering how much personality these cats can have. A cheetah recently escaped from its enclosure at the Omaha Zoo, causing a fair bit of chaos.

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