Canine Detection Unit | African Wildlife Foundation

Canine Detection Unit

Sniffing out illegal wildlife traffickers

Tags: Elephant, Rhinoceros, East Africa, Southern Africa, West/Central Africa, Community Training, Threats

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  • African Wildlife Foundation Canine detection unit dog in training
  • African Wildlife Foundation Canine Detection Unit dog
  • African Wildlife Foundation Canine detection unit dog searching for illegal wildlife contraband
  • African Wildlife Foundation Canine detection unit dog in training
  • African Wildlife Foundation Canine detection unit dog
Descriptions & Plan

Poaching epidemic threatens elephants and rhinos.

Illegal poaching in Africa is at an all-time high, with elephants and rhinos targeted by well-funded, -trained and -equipped poachers who are motivated by a lucrative illegal wildlife trade. The poaching of rhinos has increased nearly 3,000 percent since 2007 and demand for ivory is also ever climbing. If poaching does not stop, these species could become extinct within our lifetime. 

Sniffer dogs to the rescue.

African Wildlife Foundation’s Conservation Canine Programme is a best-in-breed initiative that trains and deploys detection dogs and their handlers to key airports and seaports throughout the continent to head off traffickers before they can export illegal products.

These canines are specially selected based on their friendliness and playfulness—traits that make great sniffer dogs—and then paired with a handler and trained in the ins and outs of detection.

Once the handler and dog teams are ready, they are deployed to critical trafficking hubs to help law enforcement, like Kenya Wildlife Service, detect illegal wildlife products. These highly trained dogs can detect even the smallest amounts of wildlife contraband, like ivory or rhino horn dust, and they boast a 90 percent accuracy rate. 

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