Ten expert sniffer dogs from an international mine action organisation were last week donated to the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) to aid its demining efforts.
CMAC Director General Heng Ratana said yesterday that the 10 dogs, given by Norwegian People’s Aid, were flown into Phnom Penh from Bosnia.
He added that these dogs had already received some training in Europe but that the CMAC will have to give them six to nine months of additional schooling before they would be deemed suitable to detect landmines.
The new dogs would take the place of several CMAC dogs who have recently retired.
CMAC now owns a total of 67 expert dogs specially trained to sniff out landmines.
Like the 10 dogs from NPA, five of whom are female, most of these dogs are gifts from other countries, but the centre does occasionally buy its own dogs, said Ratana.
The dogs are expensive to train.
Those who arrive in Cambodia with some training cost around $5,000 to $10,000.
Green dogs, that is, those that have not received any training, cost slightly less, around $3,500 to $5,000.
Both types of dogs require additional training to ensure that they are competent for the job, Ratana said.
With the amount of money and effort spent, the CMAC needs to ensure that training is adequate and that the dogs have “commitment”, he said.
Otherwise, they “would lose much”.
To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]