We are proud to announce that we have embarked on a collaboration with the Mdluli Safari Lodge, and their Conservation and Anti-Poaching NPC, and the Noctaum Poaching Prevention Academy to form a Mdluli K9 Anti-Poaching Unit. It is a social economic transformation project giving communities a value in conservation and ecotourism.

Mdluli Safari Lodge is situated inside the Kruger National Park, in its south-western region, with Numbi gate providing its closest access. It is a “tale of the wonder and beauty of the Kruger National Park, the authentic charm of Siswati tradition, and a deep-rooted commitment to conservation”. It was “developed with the purpose of sustainable uplifting the lives and infrastructure of the 45,000 strong Mdluli Community who live in villages adjacent to the Park who receive direct financial and indirect social and economic benefits from the lodge’s operations”.

Mdluli Safari Lodge  ©  Mdluli Safari Lodge

The Mdluli story is one of land reform, where after a long journey of land restitution, the Mdluli Community now has freehold title of 850 hectares of land.  The lodge, which is founded on four core pillars, namely a partnership with the Mdluli Community, wildlife conservation and preservation, ecological design, and the storytelling guests to this special place will forever carry with them, is a sustainable tourism initiative, with each guest’s stay leaving a lasting positive impact.  It is the blueprint for best practice community development projects in South Africa, being the only lodge in South Africa to have achieved an AA+ ESG (environmental, social, governance) rating.

Our team deployed to Mdluli at the beginning of the month, and we have commenced building a Base Camp for our K9 unit in the Pretoriuskop area.  We are looking for individuals and corporates to jump on board and assist us in this exciting project and need a variety of materials to help us establish this Base Camp.  This is a great opportunity for people and businesses to come together to help us create lasting change in this area, by helping the local community and protecting our wildlife into the future.  All donations of materials and funds are greatly appreciated.  For more information on our requirements, please contact:

Carl Thornton
Founder and Director
Pit-Track NPC

Carl & Balloo  ©  Pit-Track


We are working with the Noctuam Training Academy, which was founded in 2018 after identifying the need for well-trained, counter-poaching operatives both in the private and government sectors. The Academy recruits potential students from schools in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Kwa-Zulu Natal. The students are required to pass a strenuous selection process, including fitness, psychometric and aptitude tests. The Academy financially rewards these candidates to allow them to contribute to their respective families, with the difficult socio-economic situations many of them face. At the conclusion of their one-year course, which includes discipline and technical skills development, weapons competency, and advanced Field Ranger training, with practical training undertaken in a Big 5 reserve, successful students are able to work with the South African National Parks Board and other counter-poaching companies.

Working together with the Academy, one of the aims of the project is to train and equip local members of the Mdluli community to work as rangers, which will create employment and upskilling opportunities, and provide extra protection for the area’s wildlife.

Following the establishment of our Base Camp, five of our highly trained K9s will join us to provide protection for the wildlife in the area, and particularly rhinos, which are facing a dire future due to poaching. The K9s we have earmarked for deployment are Balloo, Lexi, Milo, Hulk and Yanka. They are a formidable force multiplier and are the rangers’ ears and eyes in the field, being able to give early warning to the many dangers and keeping the teams safe. They are looked on and loved as teammates and not just working K9s. They are all available for sponsorship under the Mdluli Fund a K9 Program, with a sponsorship price of €50.00.

Balloo is our 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, who is Director Carl’s personal human scent tracking and apprehension K9. He is the general of the K9 team and has worked in Big 5 game reserves from the age of 1. He has successfully followed up on poachers which led to arrests of syndicate members.

Lexi is our 6-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, who is the mother of our GSP human scent tracking pack. She is big 5 game trained and is a force to be reckoned with when out in the field, but has a heart of gold and is an exceptional mother.



Milo is our 5½-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, and the father of our GSP human scent tracking pack. He has been fondly nicknamed ‘The Godfather” due to his more serious nature. He is trained in human scent tracking and apprehension but has an incredible ability to point out objects in the field and has managed to bring attention to hidden objects dropped by poaching syndicates in the field.

Hulk is our 7½-year-old Boerboel, who is a patrol and apprehension specialist and a true force to be reckoned with due to his size, but is a teddy bear at heart. He is a fierce protector of his space when he is at base camp or out in the field, and has a natural ability to alert the team to approaching danger, whether it be personnel or big game.

Yanka is our 6-year-old Rottweiler, who is multi-talented. She is trained in human scent tracking and apprehension, as well as firearm detection. She is fearless in the bush and is also a survivor of a hippo attack.

This project is an exciting challenge for our team and one that we are honoured to be undertaking. We thank Mdluli Safari Lodge and the Noctuam Poaching Prevention Academy for joining us on this quest, and all of our members and sponsors, who will support us in this new project as we all work together to provide a future for our wildlife. One Team, One Dream.