Sniffing Spaniel Protects Critically Threatened Rhinos in Kenya by Identifying Guns

Drum, a 10-month-old springer spaniel, is the Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s newest hire, set to help protect the two critically endangered northern white rhinos that live at the conservancy in Nanyuki, Kenya.

Drum is trained for arms and ammunition searching in both urban and rural areas and his role will be twofold, according to Daryll Pleasants, chief animal trainer at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Drum will primarily be a vehicle checkpoint dog, sniffing vehicles entering and exiting the grounds for firearms. “Some poachers pose as tourists to plant weapons within the conservancy for a later date,” said Pleasants.

The two female rhinos are the only two northern white rhinos left in the world and scientists are working on methods to attempt to birth more of them using sperm saved from a deceased male rhino and other DNA, according to the Smithsonian.

The rhinos have been hunted to near extinction for their horns, which are valued on the black market at nearly $40,000 per pound, according to reports. Credit: Ol Pejeta Conservancy via Storyful