Detective dogs are
an extremely useful tool for the detection of illicit goods and have many
additional benefits. The presence of a dog and handler serves as a valuable
deterrent to potential wildlife smugglers, whilst creating a natural increase
in public awareness and interest.
It is estimated that dogs can discriminate between 70-80 different
Dogs can successfully discriminate between taxanomic groups
and can be trained to differentiate between specific parts of the same
species, for example bear gall bladder and bear paw.
Dogs can even detect specimens which have been tampered with
- examples include coating ivory with paint or covering bear gall bladders
with coffee or chocolate.
Whilst humans have only 5 million olfactory receptors, a dog's
nose is many times more sensitive to smells - they have more nasal membranes
and over 200 million olfactory receptors.
The illegal wildlife trade is second only to the illegal trade in drugs
in terms of revenue.
With entire species teetering on the brink of extinction, the
illegal trade in endangered animal parts used for
and in the trinket and exotic pet trade, is an
issue of global concern.