Welcome Pumlani Bambiso – K9 Nassau’s new handler

Working closely with conservation partners like Chipembere Rhino Foundation, Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa maintains multi-layered security measures to protect its rhino and other wildlife, including a highly trained Anti-Poaching Unit (APU), supported by a special K9 unit.

The K9 unit recently received a boost of fresh talent as K9 Nassau teamed up with a new K9 handler, Pumlani Bambiso, who has returned to his home at Amakhala after many years.

Pumlani is the grandson of Listen, a legend on Amakhala, who sadly passed away a few months ago. Pumlani was raised on Woodbury Farm, now part of Amakhala Game Reserve. Their house still stands today and was recently restored.

In the early days of Amakhala, Pumlani played an important role as part of the team that removed the old farm fences, implements and paraphernalia left after the adjoining local farms joined together to create Amakhala Game Reserve.

Pumlani left the reserve to work for various security companies outside the district, before returning after many years. Back on the reserve, he did odd jobs before joining the gate guard division after a gate guard did not arrive for work during Christmas of 2022. He served as a gate guard for about seven months, during which his potential for further growth was noticed by management.

When the opportunity rose, Pumlani was promoted to the Anti-Poaching Unit, where he showed a keen interest in Nassau, Amakhala’s K9 tracker dog, who was without a handler at the time.

Pumlani was tasked with the upkeep and care of Nassau, and soon it was decided to encourage his enthusiasm and interest by sending him on a dog handler course. He successfully achieved his Dog Handler level 4 in September 2023. 

Pumlani has also recently officially graduated from the 2024 GCF Community Anti-Poaching Ranger Training Programme that took place on Kariega and is back on AGR working with the APU team. We are extremely proud of Pumlani!

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