Dr. Philip Muruthi
Director of Conservation Science, African Wildlife Foundation
Research: Campaign to Save Africa's Rhinos: Bolstering Law Enforcement in Kenya with the Use of Conservation Dogs
Abstract: This project aims to address the illegal trafficking of rhino horn and elephant ivory through establishing and expanding the use of sniffer dogs at key transit sites in Africa known for wildlife trafficking. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has a canine unit that is specially trained to search out wildlife contraband, and has established a solid record of training, wildlife product detection, and dog care. They currently have canine units deployed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Eldoret International Airport and Mombasa's seaport (Rono, 2012). This project will provide KWS with at least 8 additional sniffer dogs, which may be used at these airports and seaports as well as other key exit and entry points. AWF is also consulting with government authorities in Ethiopia, Zambia, and other nations to purchase and place conservation dogs at strategic air, land and sea ports.