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Two bloodhounds are on their way to a new life in Kenya — to help save endangered black rhinos.

Drastic and Pension from the Readyfield Bloodhounds left Heathrow today (Thursday) bound for Nairobi.

The hounds will be met by Richard Bonham, chairman of the Maasailand Preservation Trust, and taken to start their new life tracking rhino poachers at Chyulu Hills — thanks to former East Essex master Giles Sim.

“There are around 15 black rhinos left in Chyulu Hills, a few years ago there were several hundred. It is the last wild population left in Kenya,” said Mr Sim, who went on a riding safari in the area last June.

“The game wardens use bloodhounds to protect the rhinos because the poachers are terrified of them. They had two, but one died, so I offered to find and send out two more.”

On his return to England, Mr Sim made contact with David Boddy, master of the Readyfield, who had two six-year-old doghounds he was willing to donate.

“They are experienced hounds who have hunted five seasons and are quite capable of tracking a poacher without ripping him to bits,” said Mr Boddy.

“I normally draft them out to slower packs at this age, and we do a lot for charities, so I was happy to donate them — fingers crossed they do the job.”

Mr Sim approached Save the Rhino, the Tusk Trust and several private investors to help fund the hounds’ transit to Nairobi. Kenyan Airways offered to halve the cost of their flight to £2,000.

Ride World Wide, with whom Giles Sim and his family travelled to Kenya last June, has also assisted.

Richard Bonham is joint-owner of Ol Donyo Wuas lodge in the Chyulu Hills, where the hounds will be kennelled.

His sister and business partner Patricia Luke told H&H: “We are looking forward to their arrival immensely — they will patrol with the wardens on foot to track both black rhino poachers and bushmeat poachers. We’re very grateful to Giles Sim.”

For more information visit: www.oldonyowuas.com

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (27 August, ’09)