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Ending Wildlife Crime

WD4C trains and deploys dogs in the US and abroad. We also consult, collaborate with, and train over 200 dogs and handlers in more than 15 countries and a dozen US States. From preventing poaching through detection of guns and ammunition before animals are poached to tracking illegal hunters on foot, to disrupting the flow of wildlife contraband in vehicles, parcels or even containers, WD4C dogs and staff are key players in ending wildlife crime.

Our anti-trafficking programs began in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. During our work monitoring lion, cheetah, and wild dogs, we saw the victims of poaching firsthand: elephants shot for ivory, rhinos killed for their horns, and countless animals caught in vicious snares. We knew our dogs could help.

We trained them to detect guns, gunpowder, ammunition, ivory, rhino horn, bushmeat, and pangolin scales. Their impact helping authorities find wildlife contraband and confiscate weapons was immediate—but we knew they were capable of even more. So we added tracking to their repertoire; in addition to locating poachers, the dogs now help scouts find and protect Zambia’s only rhinos.

From Luangwa we expanded to the Malawi border, where we intercept contraband that is often smuggled across this route, and then to Tanzania, where our dogs are now working to protect the unparalleled wildlife of the Serengeti.

But we didn’t stop there: we provide expert training and consultation to customs authorities in Central Asia to help them interrupt the flow of illicit wildlife products. In Washington State, the destination for many African poaching products, we are training dogs to detect contraband in closed shipping containers and in parcels sent by major carriers.

No matter where in the world our dogs work, we monitor their health and well-being closely and retain the right to bring a dog home at any time, for any reason. WD4C dogs remain a part of our pack for life, and if they are ever hurt, lose interest, or find themselves ready to retire, we have a soft couch waiting for them.