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Zambia Anti-Poaching Program

  • LOCATION:  Mfuwe, Zambia, Africa
  • DOGS: ChaiEarl, Fenix, Rudi, Ruger, Sara, Tesla, & Vicka
  • PURPOSE:  To slow illegal poaching and smuggling of wildlife products in the Luangwa Valley
  • TARGET SCENTS:  Ivory, rhino horn, bushmeat, skins, ammunition, gunpowder, & guns
  • PARTNER/CLIENT:   Conservation South Luangwa (CSL) & North Luangwa Conservation Programme 


The Luangwa Valley is Zambia’s wildlife stronghold, and it is under increasing attack from poachers. In response, WD4C has trained a team of detection and tracking dogs to live and work in the area permanently.

The dogs traveled to Zambia with two of WD4C’s trainer/biologists, who spent several months on site training handlers from CLS and Zambia's Department of National Parks & Wildlife. Since pet dogs are uncommon and most locals are fearful of dogs, our trainers had to begin with the very basics of dog behavior, interaction, and care. The handlers proved to be extremely capable, and soon developed incredibly close bonds with their dogs.

These dogs have since helped law enforcement confiscate wildlife parts and products, muzzle loaders, AK-47s, snares, ammunition, and gunpowder. Guns are rare in the region, and are often shared by multiple poachers, so removing even a single firearm from circulation can have a significant impact.  

Our dogs have found poaching contraband that law enforcement would never have discovered without them, such as gun parts concealed in the thatched roof of a hut, or, incredibly, a tiny primer cap (used to fire a muzzle loader) that was placed in a matchbox, hidden inside a suitcase, and buried among bags and parcels in a tightly packed van. Searches like these often happen along roads or in villages, when many bystanders are watching, which adds to the dogs’ deterrence value.

WD4C continues to provide consultation, support, and maintenance training to the Zambia team to ensure that the dogs remain eager, efficient and effective in their work.