BAMAKO, In an effort to dismantle Mali’s illegal trade in ivory, an anti-poaching team will use the aid of Dutch spaniels with a nose for sniffing out illegal ivory.

Mitch, Bobby and Amy are now part of the task force to help end the menace of ivory trafficking that has devastated one of Africa’s last desert elephant herds.

Poaching has been rampant since Tuareg rebels and militants took over the north of the country in 2012.

They’ve done the theory, and classroom training, the actual detection training with the team and the dogs and now we will be going out into the field, into actual operations to do in-operations training which is the most important phase after the actual detection training. So this is a major step now, we have handlers with their dogs, all their equipment. They are ready to go, said Director of Chengeta wildlife and chief anti-poaching unit trainer, Rory Young.

Only about 300 elephants are left in Mali. About 167 have been slaughtered since fighting broke out in 2012.

The elephants are one of just two remaining desert herds in the world. No elephant deaths due to poaching have been recorded since the newly created anti-poaching unit.


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