6975 Phila the black rhino who survived two separate attacks by rhino poachers has been living at the Johannesburg Zoo for three months. Parktown north, Johannesburg. 250111 - Picture: Jennifer Bruce

Dogs have joined the mission to stop rhino poaching around the country, The Citizen reported on Saturday.

Three highly trained pedigree pooch dogs will be set out into the Pilanesberg, Kruger National Park and a third undisclosed Eastern Cape park on Sunday to help rangers capture rhino poachers.

“These are not your ordinarily trained sniffer dogs but dogs who had a bush approach,” Stop Rhino Poaching founder Elsie Daffue told The Citizen.

The dogs will spend the next few days familiarising themselves with the animals and the bush with their rangers.

“Being out in the bush and with their trainers around them would help the dogs to adapt, Each park has also constructed specially built kennels for their protection, as they would be exposed to poisonous snakes,” Daffue was quoted as saying.

According to the paper, the foundation spent around R4700 on military training for the dogs at the Mechem Training Centre in Tshwane. The animals would not be given any bulletproof gear but would rely on their trainers and their instincts for survival.

Three trusted rangers had been allocated to work with the dogs.

“They had undergone nine week of training with their dogs in order to become their handlers,” Daffue told the paper.

South Africa has seen a surge in the number of rhino poaching incidents.

More than 270 rhinos had been slaughtered for their horns so far this year. Rhino horn is used to make traditional medicine, which is mainly consumed in Asia. -Sapa