Train Dogs to "Sniff Out" Landmines & Save Lives

Jun 10, 2013

Mine Detection Dogs Saving Lives in Azerbaijan

MDD Danik "sniffing out" landmines in Azerbaijan
MDD Danik "sniffing out" landmines in Azerbaijan

The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) has been assisting Azerbaijan in its mine clearance efforts since 2005, helping the country free its land of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), as a result of the armed conflict with Armenia between 1988-1994.  Despite much progress in removing the mines since the ceasefire in 1994, according to the Landmine Monitor and Cluster Munition Report, it is estimated that there are still tens of thousands of mines contaminating hundreds of square kilometers.

During the past eight years, MLI has donated twenty-four highly skilled Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) to the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA). Although some of the MDDs have retired from work or passed on from old age, the active MDDs Akela, Alma, Beti, Brownie, Canto, Danik, Dexter, Donohue, Duco, Fowler, Gaga, Gavran, Guru, Lipscomb, Marcos, Mojcaand Tessa were incredible assets during 2012, returning more than 1.8 million square meters - the equivalent of 460 acres - of land to the people of Azerbaijan. This is truly an incredible accomplishment for the MDD component and for demining operations.  Their work has allowed thousands of people to return to their homes, grow crops, herd animals, go to school, and live, work and play on the land without fear.

ANAMA has effectively and efficiently used the MDD component to survey suspected hazardous areas and provide quality assurance to areas checked by other demining tools. Most recently, the MDD teams worked in Agcabadi, Fizuli, Goranboy, and Terter districts, where hundreds of square kilometers are extensively contaminated with landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW).  In just the past two months, these life-saving dogs and their handlers have searched more than 400,000 square meters of mine-contaminated land.

Since 2005, MLI's MDDs have searched more than 17 million square meters, or 29,084 acres, of mine contaminated land in Azerbaijan!  In 2013, five of these life-saving MDDs will retire and, in partnership with the ITF: Enhancing Human Security and the Korean Government, MLI is pleased to honor ANAMA's request for five replacement MDDs.  These dogs recently arrived in Azerbaijan to be paired with their new handlers and complete their training.  Each of the retiring MDDs is being adopted by their long-time handlers and will live out the rest of their lives in the comfort that they deserve after such heroic work!
Searching for mines in Azerbaijan
Searching for mines in Azerbaijan



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Project Leader

Tycie Horsley

Arlington, VA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Train Dogs to "Sniff Out" Landmines & Save Lives