Vianna Von Weyhausen
Author: J. Watson
2023

Vianna Von Weyhausen

Conservationist

K9 tales

meet vianna

Vianna von Weyhausen is a life-long, passionate protector of wildlife and wild places. She is the founding director of Conservation Solutions International, creating dog-and-ranger units to counteract poaching and illicit wildlife trade of endangered species. Working with local communities, they’ve deployed units in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mali and India. She has global experience in conservation work, having advised governments and forestry departments in Morocco, Gabon and Gibraltar,  and lived in Zimbabwe, South Africa, UK, USA, France and Morocco. Vianna is pioneering a genetic research project for jaguar conservation in Mexico using her K9 protocols and published a graphic novel about poaching, K9 Tales.

K9 tales
Nominated by: Bonnie Wyper MR'18
Class of 2023 Location USA
Author: Lise Hanssen

Born in Zimbabwe, wild spaces and wild animals run through my veins. Introduction to a rescued lion cub brought home by my father when I was a baby led to my passion for protecting all animals. When I came across the idea of using dogs to track poachers, I believed it could be highly impactful in the field and loved the idea of using animals to help animals. I founded Canines for Africa, which became Conservation Solutions International as we spread outside of Africa. The concept was virtually unheard of seven years ago, so I had a sharp learning curve, but once I found Conraad de Rosner the project developed rapidly. Conraad is possibly the first person to use dogs for conservation professionally and spearheads our training centre in South Africa, yet under his rhino-hide thick skin is a giant marshmallow!

“One of our dogs in India was used to indicate tiger and other wildlife corridors, leading to the building of underpasses to protect them from cars.”

- Vianna Von Weyhausen
Author: C.J. Barton

Canine units can have amazing impact on curbing poaching and wildlife contraband detection: using line dogs and free-tracking dogs, the success rate of a field ranger goes from 3%–5% to 60–80%. Our ranger-and-dog units work closely with local communities: we offer jobs and training where these are rare; dogs can find missing people or stolen property, track dangerous animals threatening the lives of villagers and are used in education about the consequences of poaching. This engagement results in grateful people offering us intelligence on poaching syndicates, a critical piece of the anti-poaching puzzle. Dogs are also of great assistance in scientific research as they can detect or track target species over vast tracts of land. One of our dogs in India was used to indicate tiger and other wildlife corridors, leading to the building of underpasses to protect them from cars. We plan to introduce our canine units into countries where this method is untried or underutilized and open the eyes of other conservationists about this highly effective tool.

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