Two Flintshire trained sniffer dogs track down elephant tusks in Tanzania
Two Flintshire sniffer dogs trained to detect ivory made their first bust by helping government authorities seize four elephant tusks in a village outside Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park, according to WCS the Wildlife Conservation Society.
English springer spaniel Dexter and Jenny a Belgian malinois have both from Wagtail International, Flintshire-based specialist detection dog training firm.
The newly deployed team of specially trained dogs and handlers from Tanzanian National Parks (TANAPA) can detect a variety of illegal wildlife products, arms and ammunition.
In one recent seizure following a tip off authorities searched a compound where Jenny, with her keen sense of smell detected something hidden under a parked vehicle.
Her trusty nose led to the discovery of four small tusks hidden in plastic, officials believe them to be from young elephants, a man was arrested and taken into custody
WCS conservationists pointed out that the recent seizures and arrest stemmed from two years of work on the project, ranging from the building of safe kennels, training the dogs and handlers, ensuring the dogs’ health in the Ruaha environment, and equipping a special vehicle that can be rapidly deployed when intelligence arrives.
“This ivory bust shows what a powerful tool the detection dog unit is” said WCS Project Director Aaron Nicholas. “It adds to the government’s strategy to curb elephant poaching in Tanzania. Well done to the TANAPA handlers and staff and our four legged front-line friends.”
“This arrest is a very clear warning to those wanting to poach elephants in the Ruaha-Rungwa landscape” said Dr. Tim Davenport, WCS Country Director in Tanzania. “Jenny and Dexter are now on duty, and they will find you.”
The canine unit is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Tanzania as well as the Wyss Foundation, which also supports WCS’s anti-poaching efforts in the region.
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