The word ‘smuggling’ conjures up dramatic images of piracy on the high seas or bootleggers creeping around dark alleys during the 1920s. In 2016, smuggling is alive and well! However, the treasure being transported is not gold or alcohol, but our South African wildlife.
Estimates suggest that some traditional Eastern medicine users are using the scales of up to 234,000 illegally trafficked pangolins each year. These little creatures look like a long, living acorn or a tiny dinosaur – sadly they may be extinct before many people even know they exist. And they aren’t the only creatures at risk.
Wildlife crime is a primary threat to two of Africa’s Big Five – rhinos and elephants, and threatens many other animal species. Many plants, including most of South Africa’s cycads, are also facing a perilous future due to poaching and illegal trade. (Visit EWT’s CYCAD website: http://www.cycads.org.za )
At the EWT we are doggedly working on the frontline to combat these illegal activities and save our wildlife. And none of this would be possible without the assistance of our canine experts.
Meet Rico, a five year old Belgian Malinois sniffer dog who was the first dog deployed in the cargo section of OR Tambo International Airport to look for rhino horn and elehant ivory. We trained Rico to sniff out even the tiniest whiff of rhino horn, ivory and a range of other wildlife products. He has been responsible for the arrest of numerous smugglers! Rico is a welcome sight whenever he visits our head office or shows off his impressive skills during educational talks. He is always ready to say hello with a loud bark (or two)!
Based on Rico’s success, we have added a number of new dogs to the wildlife crime fighting team:
One of Rico’s handsome colleagues, Bullet, has been placed in the Addo Elephant National Park. He is both a detection and attack dog, which means that he can sniff out rhino horn and elephant ivory in cars and luggage and if necessary, bring down the bad guys who transport illicit wildlife products.
Rico and Bullet are just 2 of our 8 wildlife-crime fighting dogs.
DONATE AND HELP US COMBAT WILDLIFE TRADE: https://www.givengain.com/cause/2347/donate/#start