Dogs Protect Elephants By Busting Poachers In Kenya

A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) male dog sniffs on November 30, 2009 part of ivory and wildlife animal skin that he helped seize from poachers around the country during a news briefing at KWS headquarters in Nairobi. KWS, the Lusaka Agreement Task Force and Kenya police played a critical role in the success of an Interpol coordinated operation against poachers. Since its inception three-months ago, the operation has resulted in seizure in Kenya alone of 567.8 kilos of carved and raw ivory items. AFP PHOTO / SIMON MAINA. (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

A while ago we reported on Ruger, the dog who helped shut down 150 poachers in Zambia. Well he’s not the only pup trying to bring the ivory trade and poaching to an end. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the capital city of Nairobi, Kenya has Rocco, a Belgian Malinois who is one of eight dogs who patrol the country’s airports and seaports searching for illegally poached ivory.

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY PETER MARTELL Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) canine handler Patrick Musau leads his dog Rocco to sniff through luggages on February 12, 2016 at the Jommo Kenyatta International airport, Nairobi. Sniffer dogs have long been used to seek out drugs and explosives in airports: now Kenya is deploying specialized dogs trained to find elephant ivory and rhino horn in the latest bid to stem surging wildlife crime. / AFP / SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Kenya has recently increased the penalty for ivory poaching and trafficking, which can result in a $200,000 fine or life in prison. Combined with the strict enforcement and the efforts of dogs like Rocco, the number of elephants poached has gone down from 384 in 2012 to only 93 last year. Kenya is a major hub for travel and shipping in Africa, so a good deal of smuggled ivory passes through there. That’s why Rocco and other dogs are so important. 

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY PETER MARTELL Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) canine handler Erika Cheroiyot leads her 3-year-old dog Ashs to sniff through luggages on February 12, 2016 at the Jommo Kenyatta International airport, Nairobi. Sniffer dogs have long been used to seek out drugs and explosives in airports: now Kenya is deploying specialized dogs trained to find elephant ivory and rhino horn in the latest bid to stem surging wildlife crime. / AFP / SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Since January, the dogs have led 18 ivory busts in Kenya, as well as finding 1,100 pounds of pangolin scales and 200 live turtles. With their excellent noses, the dogs are able to detect ivory that searches from humans and x-rays miss. They’re able to detect even small objects like rings and jewelry. Nothing gets past them. Hopefully these pups will be able to help bring the ivory trade to an end so endangered animals like elephants can live in peace.

Are you glad these pups are looking out for Africa’s elephant population? Do you think they’ll be able to take a bite out of the ivory trade? Let us know in the comments below!