**UPDATE January 30, 2016**
Four years after Killer began his work protecting the rhinos in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, he’s received a very prestigious honor. Killer is the 24th recipient of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals’ (PDSA) Gold Medal for his work. Thus far, the canine hero has helped place 115 poachers under arrest.
In the video created by the PDSA, animal lover Ricky Gervais presents the medal, “reward[ing] civilian acts of animal bravery and exceptional devotion to duty,” according to the PDSA website.
Another Malinois, Diesel, earned the PDSA Dickin Medal (the Gold Medal’s military counterpart) honoring his bravery and sacrifice following the Paris terrorist attacks.
Like Diesel, Killer has displayed exceptional devotion to his handlers and the rhinos of Kruger National Park. He has saved hundreds of the animals—and his own people—on more than one occasion. Congratulations Killer, you are more than worthy of the honor.
Killer might have a tough-sounding name, but the work he does is for the good of other animals. The six-year-old Belgian Malinois has tracked down and led to the arrest of over a dozen poachers.
The South African pup hunts the hunters who illegally kill rhinos for their horns, which are used in eastern medicinal practices. Last year, 1,215 rhinos were killed in Africa, and the number is growing.
Killer, his handler Amos Mzimba, and a posse of armed rangers travel by helicopter in Killer’s own personal Air Furce One. The crew is dropped off in an area where poachers have been spotted, and Killer sniffs them out by tracking them over bush regions that can stretch over five miles. The team brave armed men and poisonous snakes in their dangerous trek.
The pup, chosen from his litter for his focus and courage, is based in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Killer works with 29 other dogs, including Gladys, a less-savagely-named Springer Spaniel who sniffs out guns and ammo.
The poachers, mostly from Mozambique, try to throw dogs off their scent by strewing chili peppers in their wake, but the dogs are too smart to fall for the trick. It doesn’t hurt that Mzimba and other handlers continue to train the pups daily.
Mzimba told the Daily Mail, “We make a good team because of our mutual understanding of each other, our companionship.” Proving that even in a high-intensity work situation, dogs are the best!