The Director of the Park
Dr. Emmanuel de Merode, Chief Warden of Virunga National Park, decided to form a canine anti-poaching tracking unit after learning of their effectiveness in combating poaching in other seriously threatened national parks. The warden reached out to renown dog trainer
The Project Leader
Dr. Marlene Zähner of Switzerland to help build a program in Virunga. Zähner grew up with bloodhounds and for more than 20 years has been training police and SAR handlers to work with bloodhounds. She is widely seen as an international expert in the field of "man-trailing", which is the teaching of human/canine teams to work together to track people by scent.hner has teamed up with three police officers from Germany that specialize in the use of canines for crime scene investigation.
Together with officers Marcel and Uschi Maierhofer and Swen Busch, Zähner regularly travels to Virunga National Park to train the park's new ranger man-trailing teams. David Claridge, retired police dog instructor from London, is also helping train another team another team of dogs to search out contraband, such as ivory.
In addition to improving the park's ability to apprehend poachers, the program has also delivered some much needed stress relief to Chief Warden de Merode. A quick visit to his team of bloodhounds never ceases to bring a smile to his face and relief from the day to day stresses that come with protecting Africa's oldest park. The project has also become a central part of Zähner life, allowing her to combine her love of bloodhounds with her passion for protecting nature.
The Project Coordinator
Robert Williams , USA, helped taking the dogs to Congo and is always there to help and support.