Ricky Gervais Honors Dog Who Nabbed 115 Rhino Poachers
Comedian and top-notch animal advocate Ricky Gervais may be hosting the Golden Globes this year, but his awards season doesn't stop with humans.
Yesterday, Gervais presented a prestigious medal to Killer, a Belgian Malinois tracking dog whose work has contributed to the capture and arrest of over 115 would-be rhinoceros poachers at South Africa's Kruger National Park.
Killer's work is sorely needed. While the number of African rhinoceroses currently living in Kruger National Park is up for debate (estimates range from 1,500 to 10,500), it's certainly not getting any larger. Poachers, who target rhinos for their high-value horns, kill hundreds per year. In 2014, poachers in South Africa killed 631 rhinos in an eight-month period alone - 408 of whom were killed in Kruger National Park.
Killer's award is from the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), a veterinary charity that funds medical care for sick animals across the U.K. Since it was founded in 1917, the organization has given out only 24 awards. Killer is heroic number 25.
"Killer does fantastic work in Kruger National Park," Gervais told the BBC. "He helped capture dozens of poachers in the last year alone, thanks to his amazing courage and dedication."
"He's making a huge contribution to rhino protection in South Africa," he added.
Gervais is no stranger to animal advocacy. He has spoken out frequently against trophy hunting and dolphin captivity, tweeted in support of shelter dogs and even symbolically adopted a moon bear from a Chinese bear bile farm in 2014. In other words: Be still, our hearts.
Phew. With helpers like Killer and Gervais out there, there's hope for the world yet.
If you'd like to help, click here to donate to Saving the Survivors, a group that rescues and cares for rhinos who have survived poaching attacks.
You can watch PDSA's full video honoring Killer below.