Invictus K9: Hair-Raising Stories & High-Risk Adventures
There are amazing people in the world, who work against all odds and setbacks to make sure wildlife and wild spaces are protected.
Jay Crafter and Mike Hensman, the leaders of Invictus K9, regularly brave challenges and dangerous situations to deter poaching, a longtime issue that has plagued Africa.
Using their past experience and natural instinct, the pair train dogs and handlers to be able to find and deter poachers.
In Part 2 of our Invictus K9 series our PR consultant, Taylor, sat down to record some of the close calls and nail-biting experiences Jay and Mike have racked up over their years in conservation!
“Read on to experience the plane crashes, angry poacher confrontations and near-death experiences from a perspective you’ve never heard before with Invictus K9!”
Mike’s plane crash in the jungle…..
“We were out on a project, and the handlers had only been handling for two or three weeks,
but the dogs had been there for a bit longer. So, the handlers were brand new to working with dogs, and we received a call to go and help on a neighboring property.
I got in a plane with one of the handlers and a dog. We flew there and landed and got a quick breakdown of what was happening on the ground. I explained to the man who was leading the operation the deficiencies that we had with it being a new dog, and once we had established what we needed to do, we were positioned in a place where we could intervene. While we're waiting in that position, these guys ran across the road and went through a fence right in front of us. The handler jumped off the back of the vehicle, and I grabbed his backpack and we climbed through the fence and started chasing the guy with the dog.
The dog was leading at the front and we bumped into these guys and had what you might call a bit of contact. We managed to arrest this guy, and these guys have been in the park actively hunting Rhino. I think they might have even killed one before we had managed to catch them. That was quite a cool little success story for so early on in the course.
So then, at the end of all of this, we got back on the plane to fly back to the property where we had come from. Right as we started to move, there was an accident and one of the wheels jammed on the plane. We went off the side of the runway and barely avoided landing in a pile of rocks. We went crashing through about 300 meters of bush and eventually came to a stop and had to get out and spend the night there.
It was crazy, but I mean, those are the sort of things that happen out there.”
- Mike Hensman
Jay has a laugh at Mike’s expense……….
“We’re driving down the road from Ceridian and we hear this tap-tap-tap,
which is normally a good indicator of stopping immediately. We slowed down and one of the handlers wanted to go check on some kids. There were probably 4 or 5 15-year-old boys, and they're just jumping out into the bush. As we drove back toward them, I just shouted out the window, ‘go get them!’ and there were no dogs involved. Then, all the guys jumped out the back of the vehicle.
Mike jumped out the back of their vehicle onto the slope, where gravity decided to take control. Mike was running down the slope, but his legs couldn't keep up with the gravity and Mike was hitting terminal velocity. He was rolling down the hill, and I’m dying laughing.
Anyway, we caught the kid and booked it back to the vehicle. Man, was it was funny! These are the stupid things that just happen sometimes.”
- Jay Crafter
Jay faces angry poachers and his crocodile fears……….
“One time, this guy basically stole everything out of our kitchen
and I’m the one who got closest to him. At the time, all I had was a radio with a long antenna. We went out to chase him with all these guys and the dog had tracked us to him. When we got too close, he jumped out a tree and scared us so badly.
So, he starts running along this riverbank, and like, Mike’s scared of lions, and I'm scared of crocodiles and I just don't have any time for crocs. I was up on the bank, but there's no way I'm getting down near the river. Everyone else was in these thick bushes running, and then finally the guy pops up.
This is the same guy that has stolen all that stuff. And I just screamed as loud as I could. I could see him and I thought, this guy's ripped, he’s so strong.
So, if I get into a scuffle with him, it's gonna hurt. Plus, he hadn't washed in about 40 years, and I was a little worried about that. So, I just screamed at him to get on the ground. And he did thank god! I was losing it because I thought here we go, this is how I end up in a wheelchair or something. It's funny because he snaps me in half like the Hulk, you know? There are always these silly things that happen.”
- Jay Crafter
Stick with us for Part 3……..
We love to hear the stories of Jay and Mike’s adventures, and we can’t wait to share more next time.
Take a look at our awesome Invictus K9 bracelets, and stay tuned for the next update!
You can also get involved and show your support to Invictus K9 by purchasing a Wild In Africa Invictus K9 Bracelet.
With each purchase of the Invictus K9 bracelet, not only will you receive a meaningful and beautiful piece of jewelry, but you will also play an important role in ending poaching in Africa.
Made from Regalite, this bracelet is a dark black or cocoa jasper with veins of khaki brown that run throughout the stones. It's considered an excellent stone for emotional healing.
50% of the purchase price is donated directly to Invictus K9!
Written by Taylor Plate
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