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A NEW technique enabling sniffer dogs to detect illegal wildlife products from just a tiny sample of air could be a “game changer” in the fight against the illegal ivory trade, the World Wildlife Fund has predicted.

The pioneering method, which is being trialed in the Kenyan port of Mombasa, aims to disrupt the trade in ivory, as well as rhino horn and other animal products.

It uses a technology known as RASCO (Remote Air Sampling for Canine Olfaction), whereby Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) dogs are trained to detect wildlife contraband from filters or sniffing pads.

Air from targeted shipping containers is suctioned and passed through filters which are then presented to the dogs who have been trained to sit when making a positive identification.