Canine Detection Unit | African Wildlife Foundation

Canine Detection Unit

Sniffing out illegal wildlife trafficking in Kenya and beyond

Tags: Elephant, Kenya, Kilimanjaro, Samburu, East Africa, Community Training, Threats

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  • Canine Detection Unit Amy Barriale
  • Canine Detection Unit Billy Dodson
  • Canine Detection Unit Amy Barriale
  • Canine Detection Unit AWF
Descriptions & Plan

Poaching epidemic threatens elephants and rhinos.

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

Sniffer dogs detect illegal wildlife products.

African Wildlife Foundation has provided funding to Kenya Wildlife Service to supplement its existing Canine Detection Unit, which is small due to resource constraints. These trained dogs and their handlers boast a 90% accuracy in detecting rhino horn or elephant ivory hidden in luggage and shipments at airports and seaports. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is, therefore, purchasing additional puppies that will then be trained for service in its Canine Detection Units.

Plans are in place for KWS to further train their counterparts in other countries on training and deploying their own canine units.

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