Fight against illegal wildlife trafficking in Washington goes a notch higher with Benny, the dog.
Washington is a preferred route for shipping both legal and illegal animal products. The city has acquired an enthusiastic dog to help fight the illicit trade.
Source: “Ellen M. Banner” via The Seattle Times.
While taking part in a drill, Benny was able to find a piece of ivory hidden between Saudi Arabian sofas.
Benny’s tactics have completely outmatched those of the ivory smugglers, a popular animal product shipped through the port city of Washington.
Washington’s first wildlife detection dog has a strong sense of smell that helps wildlife and border patrol officers detect illegal animal products shipped through the port.
According to a spokesman for Customs Jason Givens, they use a warehouse located along Duwamish Waterway to store cargo before the inspection. Once inspected, shipment is allowed entry to the US.
Inspection is not only made easier but more efficient with the use of a wildlife detection dog, and according to Lauren Wendt, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Detective; the dog makes inspection an act of fun too.
I enjoy my days when working with him, Lauren said.
Benny is trained and certified in ivory shark fin and firearms detection. He can also detect spent casings and bear gallbladder. Soon, he will also be able to identify a rhino horn.
Wendt said Benny would also be trained on how to detect pangolin. This is one of the most trafficked mammals in today’s world.
According to the State Department, Illegal wildlife trafficking is ranked fourth in international organized crime globally, with most illegal wildlife products being sold in the US.
Over 5000 wildlife shipments find their way through the port of Washington every year, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the Pacific Northwest.
Continue to page 2 to learn more about illegal trafficking.