Cool Science
A Collar for Two Detection Dogs

August 24, 2016

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

WCS detector dogs Jenny (above) and Dexter have aided in their first ivory bust. This past weekend, they helped government authorities in Tanzania seize four elephant tusks in a village outside Ruaha National Park.

The incident stemmed from a report of illegal ivory being stored at a specific residence. In response, the authorities deployed the mobile dog unit to conduct a late night house search. Jenny, a Belgian Malinois, and her handler checked all the rooms to no avail.

Within minutes of starting to search the compound outside, however, Jenny detected something hidden under a parked vehicle: four tusks concealed in plastic. Tanzanian National Parks (TANAPA) officials report that the tusks are small, presumably from young elephants.

One man was immediately taken into custody and is assisting the authorities. The detection dog unit will now work with police, zonal anti-poaching units, and other authorities in the region who will follow up on the case.

Under the guidance of WCS and Wagtail UK Ltd., the newly deployed team of specially trained dogs and handlers from TANAPA can detect a variety of illegal wildlife products, arms, and ammunition.

"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."

In honor or World Elephant Day, we recently shared Jenny and Dexter's story.

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