The fight against ivory trafficking has a new weapon

The fight against ivory trafficking has a new weaponA ground-breaking technique is being used to curb ivory trafficking. credit: @WWF

Nairobi: Kenyan authorities at Mombasa port are trying out a radical new method to put an end to the lucrative and unceasing trafficking in ivory and other wildlife products.

The technique will use dogs to "sniff out ivory, rhino horn and other illegal wildlife products hidden in large shipping containers, using a tiny sample of air", reported BBC.

The Remote Air Sampling for Canine Olfaction - or Rasco for short is being trialled at Mombasa port, said to be Africa's most active hub for ivory trafficking.

WWF East Africa wildlife crime coordinator Drew McVey said man's best friend could curb the illegal trade in wildlife, which has brought several animals to the brink of extinction.

Terming the method a "game-changer", McVey said: "Man's best friend is a trafficker's worst nightmare: dogs' incredible sense of smell means they can sniff out even the tiniest amount in a 40-foot container."

Under Rasco, air will be suctioned out of targeted shipping containers and then passed through filters. These filters will then be presented to specially trained dogs, who will sit down if they smell any suspicious items.

The scheme is being run jointly by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

Though time consuming, this method had led to 26 successful seizures in just six months.