The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) announced that four female demining dogs delivered 34 puppies on February 14. They would be trained to follow in their mother’s footsteps, working in Cambodia and abroad towards a safer, healthier human society.
CMAC director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on February 17 that the four demining dogs had actually given birth to 35 puppies, but one had died.
CMAC will select those dogs that have the potential to be trained in demining and mine research duties in Cambodia and prepare to send some of them abroad.
CMAC is currently cooperating with a number of countries, such as Serbia, which recently agreed to purchase six juvenile dogs. Other nations have contacted CMAC with the intention of purchasing dogs to form new groups of their own.
“We will try to raise some of these puppies to meet the demining needs of other nations. Some of the dogs will also to be raised as family pets,” he said.
Ratana added that Cambodia had previously brought working dogs from other countries.
Cambodia’s ability to not only ensure its own sustainable supply of demining dogs but also provide them to other countries was a source of pride, he said, adding that it was a great way to strengthen international relations and cooperation.
He added that Cambodia currently has 98 dogs in use at various sites, with about 70 more ready to be deployed this year. CMAC has introduced reforms that will see its demining capacity increase from 120sq km per year to 200. Dogs are expected to be used in the operation.
According to CMAC, demining dogs were first imported to support it in 1996. The Swedish Army introduced the first dogs as part of a pilot training programme, which was completed in 2002.
This was the beginning of the growth of the programme led by CMAC.
Apart from their contribution to detecting explosive remnants of war, the dogs have also been used by authorities to search for drugs and track criminal suspects.