It’s Dogs vs. Poachers in the Fight to Protect Elephants


Photo


Credit
Illustration by Leif Parsons; Photo by Jagodka/Shutterstock

The government of Tanzania has gone to the dogs in its effort to stop the flow of ivory taken from elephants.

This spring four Belgian Malinois, Kyra-K, Messi, Yana and Max-Z, began patrolling the Julius Nyerere International Airport and the Port of Dar es Salaam, looking for smuggled goods.

The four dogs are part of the world’s first canine detection team trained specifically to sniff out illegal wildlife products in shipping cargo and airport luggage. Officials are hoping they will help take a bite out of the illicit ivory trade.

The dogs and their Tanzanian handlers completed a 10-week course at the United States Customs and Border Protection’s canine training center in El Paso, Tex., and a follow-up course in Tanzania. The Belgian Malinois were chosen for, among other things, their ability to work in extreme heat.

Tanzania’s elephant population is shrinking fast. The country had 43,000 elephants in 2014, down from about 110,000 in 2009, according to the latest available government figures. Tanzania and several other African countries have seen a rise in poaching of ivory tusks by well-armed criminal gangs that have pushed some wildlife species near extinction.

Globally, the trade in illegal wildlife is estimated to be about $20 billion a year. Many of the products, like ivory and rhino horns, end up in Asian countries, where they are used as ornaments or in traditional medicine.

The Tanzanian authorities reported breaking up a decades-old ivory smuggling ring with the arrest last October of Yan Feng Glan, a Chinese woman known as the Ivory Queen, as well as a ring of poachers led by a rogue Tanzanian intelligence officer in February.

Continue reading the main story



Source link

About admin

Check Also

To Criticize Duterte in Public, ‘Inhale Courage and Exhale Fear’

“I wrote behind the cloak of anonymity, because when you write something against the government, ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *