Ruger is a rescue dog whose job is now to catch poachers in Zambia.
Ruger, a German Shepherd/Labrador Retriever mix, was rescued from a shelter in Montana because he was considered a “bad dog.” But that is exactly what Megan Parker, director of research at Working Dogs for Conservation in Montana, is looking for.
“Bad dogs have an overwhelming desire to bring you things,” she said. “Dogs love telling you what they know. They have an inability to quit.”
Ruger’s job now is to find elephant ivory, rhino horns, bush meat, other wildlife contraband, guns and ammunition in South Luangwa national park where animals are being poached in astounding numbers. Ruger is an anti-poaching dog and although he didn’t make the best pet, he makes a great detection dog.
“These dogs have an unrelenting drive,” Megan said. “For a dog that doesn’t stop, you can train that dog to bring you things.”
Ruger has been helping wildlife officials since 2014 and has already caught 150 poachers trying to leave the park with poached animal parts.
“A dog’s sense of smell is far more developed than we humans can even imagine,” said Pete Coppolillo, executive director at Working Dogs for Conservation (WD4C). “Scientists talk about olfactory receptors, and concentrations, and parts per billion, but to put all that in perspective, think about it this way: a dog can detect a teaspoon of sugar dissolved in a million gallons of water – that’s two Olympic swimming pools.”
Ruger is getting older now and starting to go blind, but he is not slowing down. His skills for sniffing out ivory and ammunition are sharpening and he is helping the park train more anti-poaching puppies.
Poachers in Zambia, take note- Ruger is not a dog to be messed with.
All images via The Guardian.