Sniffer dogs taking on Africa’s ivory traffickers

For years they risked life and limb to sniff out landmines in Iraq and Afghanistan alongside British Army bomb squads.

Now, an elite canine unit has been brought out of retirement to strike fear into the hearts of ivory smugglers across the African continent.

The dog detectives, who work with handlers from the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), are tasked with scouring luggage and shipping containers across ports and airports in search of animal parts.

Africa’s notorious illegal poaching industry sees tens of thousands of elephants killed for their tusks every year.

The grim trade is fuelled by a huge demand for ivory products in Asia, where they are often used in traditional medicine or as jewellery.

As recently as last December, Kenyan officials seized nearly two tonnes of smuggled ivory after recalling a shipment en route to Cambodia.

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