Meet Sonkoi Lemiti, the man who, for many years, has tormented poachers in Imbirrikani/Eselenkei in the south of Kajiado County
He has no love left for poachers on the edges of the Amboseli ecosystem. The man is one of the elite foot soldiers who has been charged with ensuring that wild animals live peacefully in their natural habitats.
Lemiti has special assignments. As a bloodhound handler, his duty at the Big Life Foundation is to track down poachers every time poachers have been spotted in conservancy areas.
Like his companions, bloodhound dog breeds under his care for special assignments, Lemiti can get a scent of a poacher, who has committed a crime, miles away. He is now the cause of sleepless nights for poachers.
His bloodhound breeds give him all the earthly pleasures, to see the safety of wild animals under the care of Big Life Foundation. The American-based wildlife conservancy organization has contributed to the increase of lions and elephants on the edges of the Amboseli ecosystem.
“This dog has a superintelligence in following scents of park and conservancy enemies. We deal with poachers every day, and our bloodhounds are the answer,” says Lemiti as he speaks with ease.
When I met Lemiti at Imbirrikani Big Life Foundation camp, I was more curious as to why the two bloodhound dog breeds had been separated by a mesh wire. One of them really tried to leak my camera as I focused on it, it stood to welcome me to the camp.
Lemiti said he intentionally separate the two because they “play too much” when put together. Bloodhound dogs are known to be so playful, and can even do that for many hours on end.
“If this dog picks a scent of a poacher, it gets so excited that if it is let alone, you will never find him. It will his nose on the target and will never look back again. We are trained in handling them because, in such conditions, they can also risk their lives in tracking armed poachers,” said Lemiti.
The bloodhound is a large dog with long droopy ears and wrinkled skin, especially on the face, according to Hill’s Pet Care Centre. Their jaws and sunken eyes give this dog a dignified, mournful expression.
The coat is short, rather hard to the touch, and carries one of three possible color combinations: black and tan, liver and tan, or red, according to bloodhound handlers.
Some black and tan bloodhounds are predominantly black except for some tan spots on the legs and face.
Adult male bloodhounds generally range between 25 and 27 inches in height, although some grow as large as 32 inches.
Weights range from 90 to 130 pounds (40 to 60 kilograms). Females average 23 to 25 inches in height, but some reach 28 inches. Their weights average 80 to 100 pounds (36 to 45 kilograms).
The bloodhound is a gentle, patient, noble and mild-mannered animal.
He’s especially good with children and is known to be exceptionally tolerant of tots who clamber over him. He also generally gets along well with other animals.
Beneath this mild-mannered demeanour, however, run deep streaks of determination and independence. A bloodhound has a mind of his own and tends to make his own decisions rather than obey his owner’s commands.
This tendency is especially true if the dog has detected an interesting scent; if that happens, he’ll be single-minded in his determination to follow the trail as far as he possibly can.
The bloodhound is one of the most melodious members of dogdom. He can perform full canine arias that feature expressive baying, howling and whining.
Bloodhounds can be wonderful canine companions, but they also can be a tremendous challenge.
They are relatively slow to mature, hitting adolescence at about one year and not reaching full maturity until at least age two.
During that adolescent period, the bloodhound is likely to be boisterous, clumsy, curious about any interesting scent and fearless about eating anything that smells interesting.
This tendency to eat includes such inappropriate objects as a TV remote controls, towels, batteries and car seats, which results in expensive post-tasting surgery to remove those objects.
This dog’s long jaws make him a prodigious droller, and with a quick turn of his head, he can hurl that drool as far as 20 feet.
The bloodhound’s tenacity and independence can make training a challenge. Patience and consistency are needed to teach him basic good manners.
Do not let your bloodhound off leash, except in a securely enclosed area.
An interesting scent will spark a single-minded pursuit that will make the bloodhound impervious to his guardian’s commands.
Nevertheless, the bloodhound is an energetic breed that needs lots of exercises, especially as a puppyhood. Like other large dogs, the bloodhound’s life span is relatively short, about 10 years.
The bloodhound has a long and noble history. The breed was perfected in the 7th century by St. Hubert of Belgium and his monks.
Since then, these dogs have frequently been associated with royalty. William the Conqueror brought several bloodhounds with him when he arrived in England in 1066, and modern bloodhounds are descended from those dogs.
Meanwhile, back in Belgium, St. Hubert’s monastery continued to present the king of France with a pair of black and tan bloodhounds every year.
Even today, in French-speaking parts of Europe, these dogs are known as St. Hubert Hounds.
Initially, bloodhounds were used to track deer and other game. By the 16th century, however, they also were used to track people.
Today bloodhounds assist with law enforcement as well as search-and-rescue efforts. Their abilities are so highly regarded that trails performed by proven trailing bloodhounds are admissible as evidence in court.