Jenni Baxter, SA People | June 5, 2020
South Africa’s famous anti-poaching hero – an award-winning dog by the name of Killer – was sadly put down this morning due to ill health, according to the film makers of multi award-winning rhino documentary STROOP.
Stroop said late on Friday afternoon: “Such sad news coming out of Kruger today: Anti-poaching hero, Killer was put down this morning after suffering from a long illness. Killer was featured in STROOP along with his handler “K9 Ranger”.”
During his life Killer won an international award (presented to him by actor and animal activist Ricky Gervais) and was featured in articles worldwide, including on the BBC.
Stroop posted a collage of photos highlighting Killer’s incredible life.The first shows his handler testifying on his behalf in court – a judicial world first which resulted in the successful conviction of rhino poachers, says Stroop.
The second photo (top right) shows Killer proudly wearing his PDSA Gold Medal for Courage, which he was awarded in January 2016 by the comedian, Ricky Gervais, on behalf of the vet charity, for his huge contribution to helping save endangered rhinos.
The UK vet charity, PDSA, said at the time: “The five-year-old Belgian Malinois and his handler work in Kruger National Park. They’re helicoptered into the park to find the armed poachers that are threatening Rhinos with extinction. In the past four years, Killer’s tracking skills have led to the arrests of 115 poachers.”
PDSA said Killer’s contribution to saving rhino was “truly remarkable”.
Killer’s handler, Amos Mzimba, told the BBC: “It is an honour to have Killer by my side. It means a lot that he has been recognised for his skills.”
He also revealed to PDSA that Killer had once bravely saved him when a poacher was shooting at him.
Mzimba was with Killer as he died today. Stroop said: “Wonderful to know that he was with Killer this morning when he was put to sleep.”
The third photo shows Killer waiting at the helipad with rangers to go out on a contact.
Stroop presenter Bonné de Bod tweeted: “My heart is broken today with the news that anti-poaching hero Killer was put to sleep after a long illness.
“Got to know this boy quite well filming with him and his handler in Kruger… their nearly two hundred arrests were just the tip of the iceberg.
“Always in my heart Killer.”
Director Susan Scott said: “Sadly Killer was put down today after a long illness… you can see some of his story in the film ‘STROOP – journey into the rhino horn war’. Such a hero.”