An organization in the United States called “Working Dogs for Conservation” has supplied their first sniffer dog to Zambia, trained to locate poacher’s tools of the trade and smuggled meat and ivory. Megan Parker of Working Dogs for Conservation told the Guardian that she finds that the dogs that make the best sniffer dogs for this work are those dogs that are often seen as bad Dogs in the home. These dogs are very often more determined than “easy dogs” and so make excellent dogs to locate hidden goods.
At first, Ruger, a three-year-old labrador retriever/German shepherd mix, bit and snapped at people. “He was a scary dog to approach,” said Parker. She had trouble getting him to a veterinarian. He had issues with confined spaces. Still, she wouldn’t relent.
It was Ruger’s drive that convinced Parker to keep training him. She eventually paired Ruger with the scouts of “Delta Team”, a Zambian law enforcement unit jointly operated by the South Luangwa Conservation Society and the Zambia Wildlife Authority. The scouts, who had little interaction with dogs, were skeptical but he’s now responsible for finding elephant ivory, rhino horns, bush meat, other wildlife contraband, guns and ammunition.
”Because the work is very dangerous, Ruger does not have to work every day, and Godfrey, a scout, rewards him with games of tug-of-war when he nabs someone.
To find out more about the project – Working Dogs For Conservation
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