Specially Trained Dogs

Sponsor Our Specially Trained Dogs

The dogs of the Congohound Unit play an important role in protecting wildlife in the Virunga National Park against poaching. Our highly professional team is personally committed to their welfare and takes excellent care of them. Such good care is expensive, however, as we need to import food from abroad. This is why we are looking for sponsors who are willing to support a dog of their choice with a monthly payment.

The Mantrailers

Mantrailers (or trailing dogs) are trained to pick up and follow the scent of any individual, for instance a poacher, over great distances and even when the trail is several days old.


Dodie, with Christian

Dodie, 5 years old, female bloodhound. Dodie and her handler Christian were the first team to be ready for deployment. Dodie is a very strong hound with a strong will. She is loving and tender when playing with her friends but uses her loud howl to guard her pack and her home against invaders. She is a very talented search dog and a real threat to poachers.

Sabrina, with David

Sabrina, 4 years old, female bloodhound. Sabrina is a very sensitive and sweet-natured dog and her beautiful warm eyes could melt a stone. In ranger David she has found the perfect handler. They are a true “match made in heaven”. With much patience and empathy David has elevated Sabrina’s performance to the highest level of excellence. They are our “dream team” and continually prove their outstanding abilities.

Furaha, with Gracien

Furaha, 3 years old, female bloodhound. Furaha (Swahili for “joy”) is a very beautiful, sensitive and loving dog. She has received her basic training in Switzerland and came to Virunga in January 2014. Furaha is the second search dog for handler Gracien Sivanza. They are already a very good team but they will need a little more time until they are ready for deployment. Furaha is the mother of Bonus.

Lila, with Emmanuel

Lila, 4 years old, female bloodhound. Lila and Sabrina are sisters. Unfortunately, Lila’s first handler took ill after one year of training and could not continue working with her. She refused to work with the second dog handler assigned to her. But now she has found a new friend in ranger Emmanuel. Together they are on the best way to becoming ready for deployment. Lila is the mother of our latest litter.

Bonus, with François

Bonus, 1 1/2 years old, male bloodhound. Bonus is our first male bloodhound and the father of Bafta, Oscar, Tembo and Akili. He is learning the trade together with ranger Francois and they are already doing great. Bonus had a serious growth disturbance at the age of 5 months, because his body could not properly digest the fresh food he was given. Luckily, we were able to import high-quality ready-made food from Kenya in time. Bonus has fully recovered and is now a beautiful, strong dog.

The Sniffer Dogs

Our sniffer dogs are trained to search for and detect ivory, weapons and bullets in buildings, vehicles and open terrain. Their work consists of searching a sector of land together with their handlers and safely indicating the objects in question.

Bobby, with Gracien

Bobby is a 2 year-old male springer spaniel from England. He is a very strong-willed dog and not always easy to handle, but he has found the perfect partner in ranger Gracien. Together they are very successful in finding weapons, bullets and ivory, wherever these objects might be hidden.

Tumaini, with David

Tumaini is a 2 year-old male springer spaniel from England. He is a loving and funny dog, but at times he can react quite sensitively. His handler David knows just how to deal with him, however, and is helping him perfect his great talent for sniffer dog work.


Our Newest Family Members

Our youngest dogs were born in late January 2015. Their mother is Lila, their father Bonus. They have been training for 2 months.

Tembo (male), with Gracien


Oscar (male), with David


Bafta (female), with Christian

How can you help? Become a sponsor for one of our dogs and support your dog with a monthly payment. Our monthly costs amount to CHF 150 per dog. This sum includes food (which is very expensive), care and veterinary treatment. Of course, you may also take on a partial sponsorship with a sum of your choice. Every sponsor will receive a personal greeting from the dog handler, regular video reports about the work and development of your sponsored dog as well as photos and updates on the adventures of the Congohounds – and your dog in particular.

You can donate directly to one of our accounts, use the Easy Button and/or contact me personally. Please let me know which dog you would like to sponsor.

Dr. med. vet. Marlene Zähner