Border security goes to the dogs

A dog and Tanzanian police officer inspect boxes as part of canine detection demonstration on March 2 at the Port of Dar es Salaam. Photo: US Embassy handout

A dog and a police officer inspect boxes as part of canine detection demonstration on March 2 at the Port of Dar es Salaam. Photo: US Embassy handout

Man’s best friend is now a smugglers worst enemy.

Four sniffer dogs and their human partners in the police force have undergone year-long training by US Customs and Border Protection and have now been deployed at Dar’s airport and the port to nab wildlife as well as drug smugglers.

A key role for the sniffer dogs is to preserve Tanzania’s tourism industry, which currently represents 12 percent of the economy.

“No elephants, no tourists,” says US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Virginia Blaser.

“A Tanzania without elephants is absolutely possible. It can happen. So we believe having canine detection teams that can find this ivory and trace it back to the criminals who are smuggling it will help us realize a future in which ivory stays right where it belongs: on the elephants,” says Blaser.

Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Jumanne Maghembe, says a collective whole-government approach is vital to restoring Tanzania’s wildlife.

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