In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement created the Wildlife Detector Dog program in response to the toll that wildlife trafficking is taking on elephants, rhinos, tigers, and other species worldwide. In the spring of 2016, the Service deployed its second cadre of professionally trained K-9 teams. These four cadet K-9s joined the three veteran K-9 teams to sniff out illegal wildlife products at the Anchorage, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Puerto Rico ports of entry.

These dogs, and their wildlife inspector handlers, graduated from a comprehensive training where they were trained to detect wildlife product scents (such as elephant ivory, rhino horn, and snakeskin) and exposed to work environments such as air cargo warehouses, ocean containers, international mail facilities, and U.S./Mexico border crossings. In addition, the dogs are individually trained for the most common wildlife trafficked items that are seized at their duty station.

Here are a few examples they have sniffed out:

Other Facts about our Wildlife Detector Dog Program:

We’re dedicated to the conservation, protection and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats.