Legendary Alaskan Race Raises Awareness for Anti–Poaching Dogs in Africa

For Dogs…By Dogs is the motto of Gerhardt Thiart who ran the 2023 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race in support of Tusk’s Wildlife Ranger Challenge. We are pleased to announce that Gerhardt successfully completed the race on 17th March 2023.

Gerhardt Thiart photographed by Toni Reitter

Gerhardt Thiart dedicated his participation in this year’s legendary Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to Africa’s wildlife rangers and their canines. Gerhardt is using his musher status to help bring awareness to Tusk’s Wildlife Ranger Challenge and in particular conservation dogs. He is the first South African to compete in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which covers 1,000 miles of sledding from Anchorage to Nome in Alaska.

The Iditarod, also known as The Last Great Race, is an annual challenge that started in 1973 as a way of preserving the culture of sled dogs and their historic use in Alaska.  The trail has previously been used by native Alaskans for hunting and travelling between villages; this annual challenge ensures that the trail and appreciation of sled dogs continues.  

A life-long dream to compete in the Iditarod finally came true in 2022 for Gerhardt, but sadly a broken ankle and hurricane artic winds prevented Gerhardt from completing the challenge, just 50 miles from the finish line. 2023 was unfinished business for Gerhardt, and he decided to sled and raise funds for Tusk’s Wildlife Ranger Challenge, particularly our K9 challenge with his moto For Dogs…By Dogs. The Wildlife Ranger Challenge aims to raise funds and promote the work of professional wildlife rangers, who are working on the front line of wildlife defence to protect endangered species and mitigate human-wildlife conflict. 

Despite a broken sled runner on day four, Gerhardt successfully completed the Iditerod on March 17th at 11:57am, taking a total of 11 days and 21 hours! Gerhardt is officially the first South African to complete the iconic 1000 mile Iditarod Race. 

Find out more about Gerhardt Thiart and his Iditarod race here. 

Image Credit: Toni Reitter. 

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