"Loving, energetic, and happy." Those are the words handler Tebogo Mangombe used to describe her four-legged companion – a highly trained anti-poaching canine. Tebogo and her canine partner spent two and half months together learning how to fight illegal wildlife trafficking. On Dec. 2, the pair graduated alongside 14 other Botswanan handlers and nine other detection dogs from African Wildlife Foundation's rigorous training program to become the newest members of our Canine for Conservation program. All graduates will be deployed strategically throughout Botswana to protect Africa's threatened wildlife. Not only does Botswana have the highest population of elephants on Africa's continent, but the introduction of canine detection units in Botswana will seal the remaining loopholes exploited by criminal networks to illegally traffic ivory and other illicit wildlife products.
Remarkable mountain ranges, active volcanoes, and rich, diverse habitats are found in Virunga National Park. The ecosystem where the park is located contains a greater biodiversity than any other national park in Africa – including key populations of critically endangered mountain gorillas. But this World Heritage Site and its mountain gorilla inhabitants face serious threats from conflict, poaching, and human encroachment.
At AWF, we believe that protecting Africa's wildlife and wild landscapes is the key to the future prosperity of Africa and its people. For over 50 years, we have made it our work to help ensure that Africa's wild resources endure.