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Africa Geographic Travel

Three sniffer dogs from the Project for the Application of Law for Fauna (PALF) recently spent a week at two major entry points to Pointe-Noire, the Republic of Congo’s second city and main port. During the mission, a total of 150 kilograms of illegal bushmeat was discovered and several live animals were found.

The below images show the busy work the dogs have been doing:

Kama waits excitedly for her turn to search a taxi in Madingou-Kayes north of Pointe-Noire.
Kama waits excitedly for her turn to search a taxi in Madingou-Kayes, north of Pointe-Noire.
Kama searching a vehicle loaded to the brim with charcoal. Most vehicles on the roads are over-loaded with baggage and people.
Kama searching a vehicle loaded to the brim with charcoal. Most vehicles on the roads are over-loaded with baggage and people.
Often the dogs must hop onto the roofs of vehicles to be able to search the over flowing boots. This probably wouldn't go down so well in any other country!
Often the dogs must hop onto the roofs of vehicles to be able to search the overflowing boots.
4.Kama helped by her handler to sniff the top of a very loaded taxi. Due to his risky work the handlers face has been blurred for his safety.
Kama helped by her handler to sniff the top of a very loaded taxi. Due to his risky work, the handlers face has been blurred for his safety.
5.Sean happily guards his toy - his reward for having found an ivory trinket hidden in a hole in a wall during a training exercise. The dogs must constantly be exercised and tested to keep up their skills.
Sean happily guards his toy – his reward for having found an ivory trinket hidden in a hole in a wall during a training exercise. The dogs must constantly be exercised and tested to keep up their skills.
6.At night the sniffer-dog operations become even more challenging, especially when trucks like these pass through.
At night the sniffer-dog operations become even more challenging, especially when trucks like these pass through.
A long tailed pangolin (Uromanis tetradactyla) confiscated at a roadblock in Madingou-Kayes north of Pointe-Noire.
A long-tailed pangolin (Uromanis tetradactyla) confiscated at a roadblock in Madingou-Kayes north of Pointe-Noire.
8.A civet seized from a taxi driver attached to its paw was a note stating the value of the civet as 20 000 CFA (about $35).
A civet seized from a taxi driver. Attached to its paw was a note stating the value of the civet as 20 000 CFA (about $35).
9.Shon indicates the location of a stash of illegal wood hidden under a heap of bananas and Marantaceae leaves which are used as a parcel in which to cook manioc (a Congolese staple).
Shon indicates the location of a stash of illegal wood hidden under a heap of bananas and Marantaceae leaves which are used as a parcel in which to cook manioc (a Congolese staple).
10.Smoked duikers seized from a taxi in Hinda, a town on the main road between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville.
Smoked duikers seized from a taxi in Hinda, a town on the main road between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville.
11.A dog handler keeping the dogs entertained late on Sunday night. This is an important time to be checking vehicles as people with something to hide are most likely to try and pass through roadblocks late at night.
A dog handler keeping the dogs entertained late on Sunday night. This is an important time to be checking vehicles as people with something to hide are most likely to try and pass through roadblocks late at night.
12.Rick silhouetted by the headlights of a waiting truck. He is pulling at his toy, the reward for finding a stash of four live pangolins squeezed into a raffia sack beneath a heap of luggage in the back of a taxi.
Rick silhouetted by the headlights of a waiting truck. He is pulling at his toy, the reward for finding a stash of four live pangolins squeezed into a raffia sack beneath a heap of luggage in the back of a taxi.
13.At night these check points take on a completely different atmosphere: more chaotic, challenging and dangerous. Later into the night people are eager to compete their journey and become much less co-operative. This is when a strong team bond, something that Arthur F. Sniegon the head of the PALF dog program has fostered, helps the team to fight back their fatigue and remain motivated and focused.
At night these checkpoints take on a completely different atmosphere: more chaotic, challenging and dangerous. Later into the night people are eager to complete their journey and become much less co-operative. This is when a strong team bond, something that Arthur F. Sniegon the head of the PALF dog program has fostered, helps the team to fight back their fatigue and remain motivated and focused.
Glimpses of the beauty of Congo’s scenery and remaining protected areas help remind us of what it is we are fighting for - a welcome escape when the majority of animals seen during the mission were dead ones.
Glimpses of the beauty of Congo’s scenery and remaining protected areas helps remind the team what it is they are fighting for – a welcome escape when the majority of animals seen during the mission were dead ones.
A ranger at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary near Pointe-Noire carries a cage housing four tree pangolins, confiscated at the roadblocks, shortly before their release.
A ranger at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary near Pointe-Noire carries a cage housing four tree pangolins, confiscated at the roadblocks, shortly before their release.
Once released the pangolins took to the trees.
Once released the pangolins took to the trees.

PALF has been fighting wildlife crime and corruption in the Republic of Congo since 2008. Their strategy is to increase the risks involved in committing wildlife crimes and to end the sense of impunity held by wildlife criminals in the Congo. In this way, PALF is assisting the Congolese government to work towards better application of the laws in an effort to discourage poachers and illegal traffickers from undertaking these crimes against nature.

 

Read more about dogs working in Africa: Conservation’s Best Friend.

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The Project for the Application of Law for Fauna in the Republic of Congo (PALF) has been fighting wildlife crime and corruption in the Republic of Congo since 2008. Their strategy is to increase the risk of coming against the law for wildlife crime and to end the sense of impunity held by wildlife criminals in the Congo. In this way PALF is assisting the Congolese government to work towards better application of wildlife laws in the hope of discouraging poachers and illegal traffickers from undertaking these crimes against nature.

Africa Geographic Travel