By Kiplangat Kirui
A conservation group has acquired sniffer dogs to track down poachers in the Masai Mara Game Reserve.
The Mara Conservancy, which manages the Mara Triangle, has imported six dogs from Colorado, USA, in a bid to eliminate poaching in the wildlife sanctuary.
Mara Triangle senior warden Joseph Kimojino said the first two 11-month-old males have "begun their duty" at Enkiro Enkare on the Kenya-Tanzania border. The two join a pack of dogs that lead a joint security team to poachers' hideout in Tarime, Tanzania recently.
"The eight tracker dog handlers recruited by the conservancy have undergone a two-month training on how to handle the special dogs," said Kimojino.
The dog handlers' team leader Shadrack Sabaya said they are now well equipped with the necessary skills.
"We check all vehicles entering and leaving the park for firearms and animal trophies. The dogs will definitely get them," said Kimojino.
Sabaya said the dogs helped them arrest four poachers, caught with snares and game meat, last month near the Tanzania border. Another two dogs manning the Oloololo gate screen vehicles entering the reserve from the Transmara side.
"These poachers kill zebras, wildebeests and gazelles for meat, and elephants for the tusks. It must stop," Sabaya said. Sabaya said there are challenges managing crime scenes because of "contamination" by footprints and scent.
People at the reserve are yet to learn the need to keep off crime scenes to avoid contamination, he added.