My name is Alphonse and I am in charge of the RCP Livestock Guarding Dogs Programme. I am very proud to run the programme as it is one of the tools which is proving very effective in protecting livestock, which in turn reduces retaliatory lion hunts.
My family comes from Arusha Tanzania. I am single with no children and live at the Camp. I have studied Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management at Sokoine University of Agriculture at Morogoro in Tanzania. When I heard about a vacancy at RCP, I applied, and was accepted.
The Guarding Dogs live with the families and are integrated into the RCP community programme to manage wildlife – community conflict. I need to look after their health and their food. I am very happy to have Dr Jessica (surname) from the USA Peace Corp helping me to diagnose and treat the dogs – and am learning a lot from her. I watch the dog’s behaviour very carefully, and look for signs of laziness and lack of appetite, I also take their temperatures as part of my routine checking. The diseases that worry me the most are Trips (trypanosomiasis) which results to blindness to the dogs and often can be fatal, Babesia (tick fever) and xxxx.
Every week I go out to visit the guarding dogs in the village (we do weekly check–ups in every Friday of every week which means it is the resting day for all the Anatolians here). The dogs are checked for wounds and any signs of illness. Every week the dogs are shampooed to prevent fleas and ticks – I either supervise or do the job myself.
During the day the dogs are out with the herders guarding the livestock, and at night they are brought back to the village where they sleep in their own cage situated in the secured livestock enclosures together with the livestock they protect. The Guarding Dogs are fearless and if they’re left to roam free at night are likely to run into trouble with roaming wildlife.
Recently there was an attack in the Mapogoro village and Jasiri jumped the livestock enclosure fence and went after the lions that were attacking the livestock. She managed to fend them off, but sadly in the process, she was killed.
‘What I like the most about my job is interacting with the dogs and I enjoy their behaviour especially the one which are living with their herds people sometimes when they’re opening their goats to the bush in the front, the middle, the back their herding behaviour when they are coming back from the bush and whenever a new goat bought or goat from another farm, bark at that goat, she knows her goats… unique behaviour. Enjoying their behaviour, more than 100 goats in her care. Early in the morning when they are opening the doors, she inspects the tracks and run to the direction of where the hyaenas etc came from, they are here for the security of the cattle, not just a dog, but a true guarding friend to the villagers.’
Photo: Alphonse, in the village of Tungamalenga, buying goats meat for the guarding dogs in the breeding programme at the Camp. Goats meat or beef are given to them every few days to keep their weight up, and on days that they don’t get meat I give them fish (dagaa) or eggs, mixed with rice or ugali (porridge).’
Photo: Alphonse in the sub–village of Mparapande in the Mapogoro village. This is where Hodari lives and guards the livestock. Its weekly shampoo day and here he is instructing the family members in the village how to apply the shampoo and to rinse it off.