Havoc is Africa’s first pangolin-detection dog

Posted by Anita Froneman on 6 August 2020

Pangolins are critically endangered and the world’s most trafficked mammal. On the frontline of the battle against poaching is the African Pangolin Working Group (APWG).

The star of the team is Havoc, an anti-poaching working dog in their K9 unit and also Africa’s first pangolin-detection dog trained to detect both the feces and scales of all four pangolin species. ‘We have one fully trained Belgian Malinois pangolin-detection dog, trained on the scent of all four African pangolin species and employed a full-time handler in the position of the K9 pangolin counter-poaching unit,’ APWG says on their site. 

‘This team is able to be deployed nationwide when required. We are in the process of training a second dog to add to this team.’

Havoc has undergone extensive training and is often used to locate pangolins being smuggled in luggage at airports.

‘We actively engage in public awareness, pangolin rescue and rehabilitation, training of law enforcement personnel, and engagement with governments and non-governmental organisations across Africa, in addition to research,’ says APWG.

‘Our people are all passionate about pangolins. Whether they are researcher, hands-on wildlife experts or experienced rehabilitators, they are all dedicated to the struggle to stop a species extinction.’

To learn more, get involved or donate towards Havoc and his incredible team, click here.


Image credit: Twitter/Ichikowitz

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