Quentin de Jager and Levi
CCF’s scat dog program is moving forward with our new scat dog trainer, Quentin de Jager, who joined CCF earlier this year. Quentin was born in South Africa and raised on a game farm, where he was exposed to wild animals and loved them from a young age on. His parents also own a Boerboel (South African Mastiff) breeding kennel so he learnt from early on how to work with and care for dogs. After school, Quentin went directly into ranging and this is where he saw how effective dogs are in the fight against poaching. Afterwards he completed a dog handlers 1-5 training and earned his qualification at Paramount Specialized K9 Academy in South Africa. Training consisted of basic kennel practices, dog health care, crime deterrence with dogs, patrolling, scent tracking and detection. Quentin is also trained in advanced weapons and combat to assist him in specialized dog handling focused on anti-poaching. After completing his training at Paramount Academy, he joined their anti-poaching team and continued working there as an instructor to train others in the knowledge of handling and training dogs. He worked with multiple dog breeds in his time with the Paramount Group. Now he works at CCF focusing on the scat dog program and works to build awareness for the importance of scent tracking in cheetah conservation.
Since Tiger’s leg injury last year, Finn, a border collie that came to CCF in Februrary 2009, is our main scat dog, and as he is getting older and CCF wants to expand the scat dog program, we are very excited to share the news about the arrival of our new scat dog Levi. Levi is a Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd cross breed and was trained by Quentin at the Paramount K9 Unit in South Africa in anti-poaching, and was since then used in the detection of rhino horn. Levi has been donated to us by our German partner Aktionsgemeinschaft Artenschutz (AGA) e.V., and we are very thankful for their ongoing support, and especially, their support in moving our scat dog program forward.
Since Levi’s arrival in June he has been trained to detect scat in random transects on roads and playtrees. To determine Levi’s ability to only detect cheetah scat, different carnivore samples (e.g. leopard or jackal) have been placed in the same area as cheetah scat. We will also test his accuracy in different conditions, e.g. placing cheetah scat in different weather conditions and placing the samples for longer periods of time. Levi’s training has been very successful and he already found his first wild cheetah scat!
The future of the scat dog program is to start collecting cheetah scat all around Namibia. Both Finn and Levi will be used to go out to farms having cheetah, or suspected cheetah problems, to determine if it is really cheetah problems or not (with finding cheetah scat and identifying if cheetahs have really eaten livestock). This will be a very important tool in mitigating the human wildlife-conflict between farmers and cheetahs.
The scat samples found by Finn & Levi will be used for genetic purposes as well, and the genetics lab, ecology department and scat dog program work together closely.
CCF Scat Dog Finn