Belgian Malinois Dog Trained in Ireland Takes His Skills to Namibia to Stop Poachers (Exclusive)

A.K. the Belgian Malinois dog's journey from anti-poaching trainee to crime stopper in Namibia is documented in the documentary "Canine"

<p>Keith Prendred</p> A.K. the Belgian Malinois

Keith Prendred

A.K. the Belgian Malinois

A.K. the dog has dedicated his life to helping other animals.

The Belgian Malinois is the star of Canine, a new documentary short film that follows the dog's path to becoming a well-trained anti-poaching hero.

Canine starts with A.K.'s training, which took place in Cork, Ireland, with elite dog trainer Rory Hennebry — who wanted to do his part to protect Namibia's endangered rhinos and elephants — and follows the dog through his move to Africa and day-to-day life as an anti-poaching canine.

Hennebry tells PEOPLE he trained with A.K. in Cork at K9 Wildlife Project until March 2022, when the dog was ready to travel to Namibia to meet the handler he would be stopping poachers with, Faan Oosthuizen - head of an anti-poaching strike force. Hennebry traveled with A.K. to Namibia and worked with Oosthuizen for two weeks before officially handing off the Belgian Malinois into his care.

<p>Aisling O'Connor</p> A.K. with dog trainer Rory Hennebry

Aisling O'Connor

A.K. with dog trainer Rory Hennebry

Oosthuizen continued A.K.'s training, acquainting the dog with Namibia's parks and reserves. Now, the dog regularly patrols the parts of northern Namibia that rhinos and elephants call home.

Related: Rare Rhino's Population Grows from 100 to 3,700 Rhinos as Poaching Deaths Fall, Report Finds

"Primarily focused on the Damaraland and Kwando conservancies of northwest Namibia, A.K. is typically out on active patrols where he serves to detect and track potential poachers, and he also assists in the identification of snares and traps that indiscriminately target the wildlife of the area. This helps to prevent the tragic harm they cause and assists in the apprehension of poachers in the act of hunting the last remaining free-roaming desert elephants and rhinos that populate the vast lands," Hennebry shares.

A.K. is also working on the big-picture fight against poaching. The dog and Oosthuizen are partnered with ERP Namibia, an organization working to establish a safe area of 50,000 hectares to act as a corridor for the elephants remaining in Namibia.

<p>Keith Prendred</p> A.K. with his anti-poaching task force

Keith Prendred

A.K. with his anti-poaching task force

Related: Indianapolis Zoo Welcomes 'Magnificent' Rhino Calf Born on Super Bowl Sunday

While A.K. assists with his effort, he is also regularly out in the field, stopping poachers in their tracks.

"Anti-poaching canines like A.K. act as an extremely effective force multiplier in terrain that is difficult to negotiate and allow the teams they work with to move with speed to detect and track the perpetrators. They also allow the teams to move at night on the trail, an option not available without a trained dog," Hennebry says.

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Some of A.K.'s recent wins include helping intercept and apprehend a suspect traveling with illegal rhino horn products in March 2024 and apprehending three suspects traveling to Zambia via the Zambezi River in Namibia with 21 elephant tusks they planned to sell in Zambia in May 2024

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