China's Customs authority now has detector dogs ready to assist in sniffing out wildlife trafficking after three fully trained Labradors and their trainers were passed fit for service in the last week of July.
To qualify for the novel role in Chinese wildlife trade enforcement efforts, the three canines and their trainers underwent months of intensive training at Ruili Drug Detector Dog Base, part of the Anti-smuggling Bureau of the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC).
Following the training, the dogs had to each pass a stiff test to locate wildlife products concealed in a variety of locations including a container, on an airport luggage conveyor belt and at a postal centre.
All three dogs passed the test by successfully detecting the hidden items, which included Tiger bones, ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales and live freshwater turtles, among other samples. These are all wildlife products commonly trafficked from South and South-east Asia to China across the border in south-west China's Yunnan Province.
"TRAFFIC is very impressed to see the dogs have completed their training successfully and are ready for action," said Dr Jianbin Shi, Head of TRAFFIC's China Programme, which provided partial support to the training project.
"The deterrent effect of having trained detector dogs on patrol should not be underestimated--wildlife smugglers will be aware the dice are now heavily loaded in favour of them being caught."
Initially the dogs are expected to be deployed to key airports and checkpoints in Yunnan Province. More....