Train Dogs to "Sniff Out" Landmines & Save Lives

by The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI)
May 19, 2014

"Sniffing out" Landmines and Saving Lives

MDD and handler training in simulated mine-field
MDD and handler training in simulated mine-field

Thank you for your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute and our humanitarian work.  Your generous support of our Mine Detection Dog Program on Global Giving is enabling us to provide even more dogs who are "sniffing out" landmines and saving lives all around the world.  We have donated 195 life-saving dogs to 11 countries, and just last year, our active dogs searched more than 3 million square meters of mine-affected land, or 750 acres!

In countries like Iraq, MLI has provided 12 Mine Detection Dogs (MDDs) to the Iraqi Mine & UXO Clearance Organization (IMCO) to search for landmines.  In just the past few months, these heroic dog teams searched 63,400 square meters, or approximately 15 acres, of mine-contaminated land near Basra. IMCO has embarked on a large, multi-phase project to clear 4 million square meters of land in the Shatt Al-Arab district, a district within the Basra Governate.  The district is at the mouth of the Euphrates and Tigris River and is an important hub for business, transportation, and tourism, but in recent years, the industries have suffered as a result of the dangers posed by landmines in the area. This area also was historically home to the largest date palm forest in the world. In the mid-1970s, the region included 17 to 18 million date palms, an estimated one-fifth of the world's 90 million palm trees. But by 2002, war and the consequences of war, like landmines, had wiped out more than 14 million of the palms, and the remaining 3-4 million trees are now in very poor condition.  Thanks to the work of MLI's MDDs, this area is progressing towards becoming mine-safe, and the Iraqis are hopeful that this will not only allow the local economy to prosper, but that eventually the area will once again be home to millions of healthy date palm trees.  The dogs are saving countless lives and enabling people to farm on land that has been off-limits to them for years. 

Three weeks ago, MLI’s President, Perry Baltimore, visited IMCO and was able to spend some time with each of the MDDs and their handlers.  Perry was very impressed by the teams and spent time speaking with each handler, including Ali Naim, who said that he really enjoys being a dog handler and has become quite attached to his MDD.  He mentioned that he often brings his dog home with him to play with his young children and that the dog is incredibly friendly and well-behaved.  He said they also spend a lot of time continuing to train in IMCO’s simulated mine-field to ensure that they stay in peak condition for their field-work around Basra.  Perry was able to watch them train and was pleased to see how well the MDDs are able to quickly and accurately locate the presence of a mine’s explosive odor.  All of the dogs also clearly enjoys the work!

Thank you for your support of the Marshall Legacy Institute and our humanitarian programs!  We are so pleased to be able to share with you the life-saving working being done by our MDDs around the world.   Thanks to your generosity, these incredible dogs are able to impact the lives of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children and are making the world a safer place for children to play, people to work, and communities to grow without fear of landmines.

MDD Team working in a mine-field near Basra
MDD Team working in a mine-field near Basra
MDD Team working in a mine-field
MDD Team working in a mine-field

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Organization Information

The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI)

Location: Arlington, VA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.marshall-legacy.org
The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI)
Project Leader:
Tycie Horsley
Arlington, VA United States

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