|A patrol dog, handler and ranger demonstrate their abilities to track a mock poacher in Ol Jogi, Kenya. Photo credit: USFWS|
As part of my work for our Division of International Conservation, I help support anti-poaching efforts to protect wildlife in foreign countries. This important work now has a high profile as it supports two of the three strategic priorities of the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking released by President Obama in February 2014. These are developing capacity to strengthen enforcement and facilitating partnerships to develop and implement innovative and effective methods to combat wildlife trafficking on the ground.
One of the tools increasingly touted as innovative and effective to combat wildlife crime in Africa is the use of conservation dogs. At the field level, conservation dogs can be trained to help detect and investigate wildlife crime. In other roles, they provide safety to the rangers they accompany -- an important benefit to a high-risk job. Once the crime has been committed and trafficking is underway, conservation dogs can be used to detect wildlife products that have entered the supply chain.