Although hunting elephants is banned throughout Africa, poaching exists and presents a terrible threat to the future of the African forest and savanna elephants, so much so that experts believe they will be extinct within ten years if they are not protected now.
Bloodhounds Save The Day And The Elephants
A dedicated, Swahili-speaking veterinarian from Japan named Asuka Takita, is the unlikely creator of this incredible initiative to save the vanishing African elephant from cruel poachers. The challenge of spotting and catching poachers was overwhelming in Kenya's Maasal Mara Reserve, an ecosystem on the southern part of the country that merges into Tanzania's Serengeti. But since 2009, this program has captured more than 4,000 poachers thanks to the incredible noses of trained bloodhound puppies. The program also includes specially-trained dogs to sniff out ivory and guns at park entrances and airports. (See: Pride of Lions Saves Young Girl From Kidnappers.)
For years, bloodhounds have aided police departments and rescue squads, and experts believe that their sense of smell is 1,000 times more acute than humans, and their long ears help them process smells by isolating scents on the ground. For this program, sweet-tempered blood hound puppies are selected to track poachers through the long, tall savanna grasses. Their keen sense of smell make them very effective during daylight hours, and thermal imaging cameras complement their efforts at night. (See: Giant Rats Save Lives.)
Elephants Are Becoming An Endangered Species
Elephants are magnificent animals, but according to scientists, they could become extinct within the next decade without the severe curtailment of illegal poaching along the African savannas. Their tusks were once used to make piano keys and jewelry, but today, despite Kenya's 40-year-old ban on poaching and the protection offered by national parks and reserves, the terrible practice continues unabated. This is due to the black market value of elephant tusks, the extreme poverty of natives and the endemic corruption of government officials who collect fees from poachers .(See: Elephant Saves Girl From Tsunami.)
Poachers are heartless. They also hunt protected animals such as: gazelles; impalas; giraffes and buffalo, which they sell as bush meat. These bloodhounds are a godsend to these vulnerable creatures of the African savannas.