When resources are available, advanced technologies such as drone surveillance or other tracking and sensing systems might be the fastest way to nab wildlife offenders. But anti-poaching and anti-trafficking work also relies on low-tech, tried-and-true methods. One of the oldest and most reliable? Dogs.
Uganda sits pretty as the pearl of Africa. It is beautiful, green, and fertile, and it is the region’s biggest producer of tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples, and avocados. The country’s serene protected areas and iconic wildlife species add to its beauty and attract both local and international tourists. Tourism is a major driver of the country’s economy and makes a significant contribution to its GDP.
Dogs have been part of our world since time immemorial, considered a best friend and companion. But canines are not only loyal, they are also highly intelligent and possess a dazzling sense of smell. These enviable qualities form the basis of African Wildlife Foundation’s Canines for Conservation Program.
As more countries recognize wildlife poaching and trafficking as serious crimes run by organized syndicates, they turn to the legal system to protect wildlife. Not only is legislation being strengthened across eastern Africa, but the capacity of law enforcement officers, investigators, and prosecutors is also strategically enhanced.
Up to 130,000 elephants roam the wild lands of Botswana – and that is not counting transient herds moving across country boundaries in the region. As a significant range state, Botswana was the only nation in southern Africa to support a total and permanent ban on the ivory trade at the 2016 CITES conference.
With 2017 upon us, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on the triumphs and challenges of the year gone by. Below, three of AWF’s top conservationists share their thoughts on our biggest moments from 2016.
In July 2015, the first class of dogs graduated from the African Wildlife Foundation’s (AWF) unique anti-trafficking program, the Conservation Canine Programme. The eight graduates are currently stationed in airports and seaports in Kenya and Tanzania, working closely with the wildlife authorities to diligently detect wildlife products bound for international travel. The enthusiastic canines sniff their way throughout these highly trafficked venues, searching high and low for contraband wildlife products.