They are furry, they are bold, lovable so, and put their nose to the grindstone – British police’s two Labrador dogs are to be flown to Thailand to put an end to the smuggling of pangolins – their distant critically endangered mammalian cousins.
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Since the Labradors managed to win the love of humans, they can definitely share that love with pangolins who have found themselves on the brink of extinction. Ironically enough, the same human race which has embraced Labradors with caring affection is now the pangolin’s greatest foe.
The mammal is the most trafficked one in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which is to send the two quadrupeds to Thailand, said on Tuesday. All eight species of pangolins are on the red list of threatened species and at risk of extinction, the ZSL added.
The names of those tasked with the daring mission to stop the downward spiral are Buster and Bess.
”So Bess and Buster are going out to help a problem on the Indo-Burma peninsula, predominantly in Thailand, where we’re seeing live animals like pangolins being trafficked along the road network to the northern neighbors in Thailand,” counter-trafficking advisor at London ZOO Grant Miller said.
“The live animals are critically endangered and indeed one of the most trafficked animals in the world. We reckon one is poached every 5 minutes. So really horrific numbers that they’ve been trafficked in,” Miller added.
The ZSL team were very excited to meet crime-fighting canines Bess and Buster 🐾 before they fly out to Thailand to combat the #IllegalWildlifeTrade of pangolins 👉 https://t.co/9cVcD4Stgq @DP_World @united4wildlife @CommunityCEPF pic.twitter.com/HzVCsucYSC
— ZSL (@OfficialZSL) February 28, 2023
They have already been put through an eight-week wringer with London’s Metropolitan Police. Now they are ready to be sent on their way to distant Thailand where they will polish their sniffing skills.
Once fully trained, they will nose about airports, ports, trunks, and roadsides to jeopardize smugglers’ malevolent exploits. It truly is a herculean task, for pangolins are victims of high levels of poaching and illegal trade for their meat, scales, and other body parts, despite a ban being in place.