Sniffer dogs will now be used to track down poachers and illegal traders in animal trophies under an initiative by the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).
The illegal hunters and smuggled trophies would be tracked using the dogs in the protected areas such as the national parks, game reserves and exit points such as the airports, ports and border points.
This was announced here last week by a senior conservation officer with the Tanzania Wildlife Authority (Tawa), Mr Damas Pascal, during a training involving wildlife officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
He said trained sniffer dogs had been provided for the task which, according to him, would start immediately. He added that he expected the project would be successful in taming illegal trade in animal trophies.
Another official with Tawa, Mr David Marwa, commended AWF for the support it extended jointly with the United States International Cooperation Agency (USAID), saying it was a boost to the anti-poaching war.
Speaking to The Citizen, one of the dog handlers, Mr Gabriel Jau, said deployment of dogs in tracking down the trafficked animal trophies has been done in several countries in the world with significant success.
“It is our expectations that officials of the Natural Resources ministry will take care of the animals,” he said.
A communication and advocacy officer with AWF, Ms Grace Wairima, said the initiative has been undertaken under the AWF Canine project targeting to protect elephants and rhinos.
, the most hunted animals in Africa for their trophies which are in high demand in Asian countries.