Sniffing Out Smuggled Wildlife
It is sad in this day and age that the poaching and smuggling of protected wildlife and wildlife parts still goes on around the globe. From elephants tusks and rhinoceros horns to aquatic sea life the smuggling trade continues to thrive at an alarming rate. Poachers have killed roughly two thirds of Africa’s few remaining forest elephants over the the last decade. Thankfully, man’s best friend is stepping up to help make things harder for wildlife smugglers. Butter, Lancer, Locket and Viper are recent graduates of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new wildlife detector dog teams, ready to sniff out illegal wildlife shipments at airports, ports of entry, and even UPS and FedEx shipping centers. The four dogs spent thirteen weeks training with their human counterparts in order to sniff out illegal wildlife shipments. Detector dogs with the Fish and Wildlife Service are normally trained to sniff out fruits and plants to intercept potential insects or diseases that could hurt U.S. agriculture. It only makes sense to put their keen sense of smell to work sniffing out smuggled wildlife parts and products, before the trafficking of protected wildlife pushes another species to the brink of extinction.