Kenya innovates in ways to counter ivory smugglers

Kenyatta looks on as 15 tonnes of ivory confiscated from smugglers and poachers is burnt to mark World Wildlife Day at the Nairobi National Park. Photo : REUTERS

NEWSROOM (ADV) – Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has partnered with African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) to launch a canine unit to nab traffickers of elephant tusks, rhino horns and pangolin scales at the Port of Mombasa.

Philip Muruthi, head of species conservation at AWF, said the unit dubbed K9 consists of four dogs of Malinois and German Shephard breeds with specialized training and modern kennel facilities to be stationed at the East Africa’s biggest trade gateway.

“It’s an important day for the country,” said Muruthi during the launch of the unit at Mombasa Marine National Park on Monday.

The canines will be used in other stations, including the Standard Gauge Railway Station, Moi International Airport and at the borders.

The Port of Mombasa has been cited as one of the major conduits and exit points for ivory that is driving illegal trade in the international market.

Muruthi said the wildlife organization has also trained judicial officials on how to handle wildlife related crimes.

Charles Musyoki, KWS director general, said that the canines would also be used to protect endangered ocean species at the Indian Ocean.

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