Dogs sniff out record rhino horn stash

Dogs sniff out record rhino horn stash

Detector dogs can find even a tiny molecule of rhino horn. This dog and handler are part of the Endangered Wildlife Trust Rhino Project, which focuses on smuggling routes by deploying sniffer dogs at OR Tambo International and training more than 100 airport officials. Photo: Michelle Nel

Sniffer dogs found a record consignment of rhino horns stashed in the bags of two foreign nationals en route from Maputo to Vietnam on Friday, October 31.

Two men were arrested at OR Tambo International Airport for possession of 34 large pieces of horn, worth an estimated R4.5-million, reported Sapa.

“As a result of specific, targeted profiling work, they were intercepted in the international departures section of the airport for additional searches,” said South African Revenue Service (Sars) spokesperson Marika Muller.

A Sars detector dog trained to identify rhino horn reacted positively to the two bags that the men were carrying. The bags together contained 34 large pieces of horn, weighing 41 kilograms.

“This is the biggest ever seizure of rhino horn by the Sars customs team at OR Tambo International,” said Muller.

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