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16/10/2016, 21:00

Dogs are being trained to parachute out of planes to fight animal poachers

Skydiving hounds have harnesses, goggles, muzzles and earmuffs

CRIME-fighting dogs are being taught to parachute into danger zones in a bid to stamp out illegal poaching.

Brave hounds – kitted out with goggles and earmuffs – are undergoing the training as part of crime-busting initiative in South Africa.

Brave hounds have learnt to skydive as part of a crime fighting initiative in South Aftrica

The recruits are equipped with doggy harness, googles, muzzles and earmuffs before jumping

The crime-fighting hounds are quickly becoming specialists in their field

The dogs parachute out of helicopters with their trainers before tracking poachers hiding in the bush.

The high-flying team of German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois dogs are quickly becoming specialists in their field.

A spokesman for the Paramount Group Anti-Poaching and K9 Academy said Arrow had been training for his skydiving role from a very early age.

“Arrow was first introduced to flying in a chopper at the age of six months, he then began rappel training when he was one-year-old.

“He loves flying in choppers and especially on the skids on the outside of the helicopter.

“Arrow goes everywhere with his handler, it’s important he trusts him, otherwise he wouldn’t jump out of a plane at 7,500ft.”

The highly trained dogs are used to track poachers in South Africa

The K9 Academy has said getting a specialist dog on the ground is a great factor in the success of an operation

Despite the K9 Academy’s success and Arrow’s extensive training, the poacher-busting method is still highly dangerous.

The spokesman added: “The accidental opening of chute in a chopper is very scary as it could bring the chopper down.

“Getting a specialist dog on the ground, where he is needed, when time is a great factor in the success of an operation.

“Rappelling and skydiving into hotspots or very difficult terrain becomes the only option in getting the K9 Team on the ground as soon as possible.

“They also require specialised equipment including doggy harnesses, goggles, muzzles and earmuffs.”

The dogs go everywhere with their owners to build up trust

Musical dog Bert howls as classical artist Nicola Benedetti practises the violin

Arrow and his colleagues Giant, Venom and Alpha work together to patrol hotspots - looking for common poaching tracks such as cut or broken fences, irregular human tracks or litter.

Other tell-tale signs include large flocks of crows or vultures feasting off the animals killed by poachers.

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