Sniffer dogs to combat rhino poaching

2012-03-03 14:35
Johannesburg - South African sniffer dogs were being used to combat rhino poaching and the smuggling of elephant tusks, according to a report on Saturday.

The sniffer dogs recently uncovered a major drug smuggling operation in the West African country of Benin, the SABC reported.

The dogs, trained by Mechem, a subsidiary of state arsenal Denel, were deployed at ports and airfields to counter the growing trade of drugs and illicit substances.

Veterinary Ethnologist at the Mechem Training Facility in Lyttleton, Pretoria, Dr Hannes Slabbert told the SABC the dogs were much more effective than any X-ray system and very efficient.

"We are very proud of our track record, our training and expertise in the field - and we are also very involved in this rhino poaching."

"We supply dogs to private game reserves and we are working towards supplying quite a few dogs to other entities as well to stop this, so we are not only looking at drugs and explosives but also the rhino poaching and the elephant tusk problem," Slabbert said.

In an effort to combat rhino poaching Denel group CEO Talib Sadik has placed the company’s technology, human and canine resources at the disposal of anti-poaching initiatives, according to Denel's website.

"We have some of the most sophisticated technology in the world and at least three of our business entities can help stop rhino poaching - Mechem for their sniffer dogs, Carl Zeiss Optronics, for its powerful ‘eye-in-the-sky’ technology and Denel Dynamics for their unmanned aerial vehicles,” Sadik said.

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