Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CMAC spends $1m on dogs



CMAC spends $1m on dogs

CMAC spends $1m on dogs

08111713.jpg
08111713.jpg

Program to teach dogs to sniff out unexploded mines and ordnance needs

more recruits, CMAC officials say, but puppies and training are not

cheap

Photo by:
HENG CHIVOAN

CMAC mine detection dogs parade through the streets during Independence Day celebrations last week. 

BREEDING and training a  new generation of specialised mine-detecting dogs is costing the Kingdom around US$1 million annually, new figures reveal.

"We spend from $860,000 to $1 million per year on mine-clearing dogs," Khem Sophoan, director general of the Cambodia Mine Action Center (CMAC), told the Post Sunday, adding that the money comes from both the Cambodian government and various donors.

According to Khem Sophoan, CMAC's total expenditure reaches somewhere between $9 million and $11 million a year.

He said a sizable chunk of this funding goes to CMAC's Mine Detection Dog program, founded in 1996, which trains dogs to sniff out mines and buried explosives.

Most of the 87 mine-detecting dogs that have been through the program are purchased ready-trained from a centre in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

One dog costs around $4,000 and once, it reaches Cambodia, training continues. However, CMAC is trying to reduce its reliance on imported dogs.

Puppies please

According to Khem Sophoan, the MDD program needs 10 imported mine-clearing dogs every year to replace the old ones. Now the MDD is making an effort not only to train dogs at the centre but breed them.

Ten puppies were born at the centre eight months ago. However, only three of this historic first litter of puppies survived infancy.

Mong Sokunthearath, director of the Kampong Chhnang CMAC center, home of the MDD program, said that there are two kinds of dogs:

Those that specialise in mine-clearing and those that unearth unexploded ordnance. The dogs start their training when they are two years old.

"They take from six to eight months to be trained," he said. "They are first trained to [obey] humans and then to sniff out explosives, such as TNT."

Experts estimate that up to six million unexploded land mines remain in Cambodia.

"They [land mines] were placed in almost every province throughout Cambodia," Khem Sophoan said. "As part of the government's strategy, we plan to clear all mines in Cambodia by 2020."

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma