Kenya is stepping up efforts in its fight against poaching and ivory smuggling. The East African country recently acquired a brigade of sniffer dogs that will aid detect ivory smuggling in its major entry and exit points.
The specialised canines have been trained by the African Wildlife Foundation to find elephant ivory and rhino horn as Kenya continues to win the battle against poaching.
“We started this programme of deploying sniffer dogs to detect wildlife products particularly at ports and transit routes because we are in a poaching crisis,’‘ said Philip Muruthi, the vice president of the AWF.
We started this programme of deploying sniffer dogs to detect wildlife products particularly at ports and transit routes.
Conservationists say the approach is already aiding to apprehend perpetrators as more than 30,000 elephants are poached in Africa annually.
“So we made arrest after an arrest after an arrest and all of them were at night. For example on Tuesday we had two Chinese, the following day we had another bunch of Chinese, the following day we had another bunch of Vietnamese and Thailand nationalities so that was quite memorable and that speaks volumes if you can arrest consecutively,” Mark Kinyua, the head of the dog unit for Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said.
Since being implicated among one of the eight countries in illegal trade of ivory, the Kenyan government has implemented tough laws and strict surveillance at major entry and exit points. This measures have resulted to a dramatic decline in elephant and rhino poaching.
The country’s porous borders and ports of entry have often been a key transit route of ivory due to demand in Asia where the tusks sell for slightly over 1000 US dollars per kilogram.