Canine Detection Unit
Illegal wildlife trafficking can seem like a losing battle at times; poachers are highly skilled, well-equipped, and incentivized to kill wildlife at alarming rates. The illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife parts is controlled by dangerous international criminal networks, and has been linked to terrorism and the trafficking of drugs, arms and people. It is exceedingly difficult to keep up with an industry offering high profits to those that participate. But, we have a partner. And like the trafickers, this partner is also highly trained, energetic, accurate, and dedicated.
We’ve partnered with African Wildlife Foundation to build and support the Canine Detection Unit because we’re confident that growing this iniative will help tip the scales in our favor as we fight illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking. Our support has helped build capacity to train more handlers and dogs and increase their presence in critical trafficking hubs such as airports and seaports.
Canine Detection Unit dogs are selected for their inquisitiveness and playfulness, and expertly trained to sniff out illegal wildlife products such as rhino horn and ivory. Paired with handlers to finish training in their specific location and form the human-canine bond that is pivotal to a successful working relationship, the dogs develop 90% accuracy in finding even the smallest amounts of illegal wildlife products.
Like the K9 unit that our very own Cleveland Metroparks Rangers employ, sniffer dogs in Africa are doing more than enforcing laws – they’re keeping people, animals, and communities safer.
Livestock Guardian Dogs
Cut from a slightly different cloth than their ivory-sniffing colleagues, livestock guardian dogs are employed to prevent human-wildlife conflict by protecting…cattle?
As habitats are lost and fragmented, large carnivores are more likely to attack livestock, which can lead to retaliatory killings of threatened species such as lions and cheetahs.
Guardian dogs benefit wildlife, humans, and livestock all at once by breaking this cycle. Large breeds such as Anatolian Shepherds are made for this type of work, and provide a sustainable solution that empowers local people.
We have supported the introduction of livestock guardian dogs to communities in Tanzania in partnership with Ruaha Carnivore Project, and have already seen marked reductions in livestock attacks.