Flintshire trained detection dogs off to Far East to join battle against live animal smuggling
One of Europe’s leading detection dog companies based here in Flintshire is celebrating the signing of a new contract with a Far East government.
As part of the contract, Wagtail UK Ltd will provide trained ‘live animal’ detection dogs and dog handlers for deployment in the Far East.
The dogs and handlers will be trained in the UK initially, with the final stages of training taking place in Asia.
Helping to protect international borders, the specialist dog teams will provide a vital layer of security in the battle against animal smuggling.
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has brought renewed attention to the global problem of wildlife trafficking.
The World Health Organization has determined that COVID-19, just like SARS, Ebola, Bird Flu, and MERS, originated from an animal.
Around three-quarters of new human diseases are thought to come from animals, wildlife trafficking plays a key role in their transmission from animals to humans.
The products offered from the trafficked species for human consumption escape any hygiene or sanitary control and therefore pose even greater risks in the spread of infectious diseases.
A Wagtail spokesperson said: “The dogs trained for this Far East contract will able to detect a number of species, exotic pets and other products of animal origin.
Exotic pets are animals desired by consumers due to their rarity or simply they are not easily available in the owner’s region.
While many of these animals can be obtained from legal sources, many animals are captured from their endemic environments, smuggled across national and International borders and wind up in family homes, menageries, or roadside circuses.
Reptiles, such as bearded dragons and geckos, and birds, such as scarlet macaws and certain falcons, make up the largest share of animals captured and sold.
Exotic mammals including three-toed sloths, sugar gliders, prairie dogs, hedgehogs, monkeys and other animals are kept as pets.
The dogs for this contract will also detect pangolin and bats.
The pangolin is the world’s most trafficked animal. They are being poached for their scales which are in high demand by Asian markets for use in traditional medicine.”
Dogs remain the most accurate, “efficient and cost-effective method of detecting a scent.”
A dog’s sense of smell is thousands of times stronger and more sensitive than a human.
Wagtail dog training is based on a ‘reward system’, they are trained to detect a scent and rewarded with a tennis ball or their favourite toy.
Wagtail trained dogs and handlers are currently working at a number of international boundary/border control points in Africa, Europe and the Far East.
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