What is the Soul Trust?
The SOUL Trust has been formed as the legal entity behind the “K9’s For Conservation” project. The Trust’s aim is to establish a specialised canine unit, with a base of operations in Zimbabwe. This Canine unit will provide support to National Parks, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Conservancies, and Trusts that are dealing with poaching issues. These canine teams will be trained at a central location, and then deployed into a variety of areas to detect illegal wildlife goods, and provide support in the apprehension of poachers, and illegal wildlife and livestock vendors. The Project currently has 4 dogs imported from Holland, as well as six completed kennels. A hunter associated with Bubye Valley Conservancy sponsored the start-up cost of the Project, including the cost of the dogs.
Who is behind the Soul Trust?
Bud Cockcroft was first involved in fund raising for rhino conservation with Operation Stronghold in the 1980s. He has been the key player in organizing three Rhinofests, the most recent of which took place in May 2016. Bud’s music has inspired countless Zimbabweans and his logic and creativity is a great asset to the board.
Jay Crafter, owner of Invictis Canine LLC based in the United States. Jay was born and raised in Zimbabwe and spent many years training dogs in the military. Jay's focus is on wildlife protection and law-enforcement training. He has vast knowledge in training dogs to combat poaching.
Peter Fick is an avid supporter of anti-poaching and conservation work. Pete spent several years working for Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management before becoming a professional hunter. He currently spends much of his time enlightening others worldwide about the virtues of conservation.
Jessica Folkertsen, a born and raised Zimbabwean who has recently returned from the United Kingdom after seven years in the British Army as a dog handler and trainer. She gained invaluable experience, which included two tours in Afghanistan. During this time she handled and trained Protection dogs, Vehicle Search dogs, and High Assurance dogs (Essentially mine detection dogs). Jessica also has experience training dog handlers. She is currently involved in the day-to-day running of the project as well as training and maintenance of dogs and their handlers.
Dr. Kyle M. Good, a veterinarian who was a founding member of Cheetah Conservation Botswana. She has vast experience in dealing with the running of a Not for Profit grassroots organization. She has been a veterinarian for over 25 years and is in charge of the health of the dogs. She is also involved in the day-to-day running of the project.
Inspector Richard Hove is a long-standing member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police canine unit. Mr. Hove's experience training dogs in law enforcement is invaluable.
Blondie Leathem worked for Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management in the 1980s. He currently manages Bubye Valley Conservancy (BVC). When rhino poaching became rife in Zimbabwe, BVC became custodians of many of the nation's rhino population. He is heavily involved in anti-poaching of rhino.
Barney O'Hara has 30 years’ experience in conservation, from working for Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in Botswana, to flying for various top conservation organizations throughout Southern Africa including the International Rhino Foundation. He is involved in the day-to-day running of the project.
The Hon. Jonathan Samukange, Member of Parliament, a well-respected lawyer in Harare with a keen interest in protecting Zimbabwe's wildlife to ensure future generations of Zimbabweans will also enjoy.