Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New hound joins mine battle

New hound joins mine battle

Smell hound Rambo stands outside the Phnom Penh International Airport with a handler from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre
Smell hound Rambo stands outside the Phnom Penh International Airport with a handler from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre yesterday after disembarking from a flight. PHOTO SUPPLIED

New hound joins mine battle

Cambodia's newest demining employee comes with an impressive resume, years of experience – and four legs.

Rambo touched down in Phnom Penh yesterday, then was driven to the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) training facility in Kampong Chhnang province. He is the first of 18 trained “smell hounds” CMAC will receive through a donation from NGO Norwegian People’s Aid.

“We flew Rambo in first because of CMAC’s urgent need in our demining efforts,” CMAC director general Heng Ratana said. “The other 17 dogs will arrive within the next six months.”

At four years old, Rambo has already received training at a centre in Bosnia and spent the past two years sniffing out explosives in Senegal, Ratana said. He will receive another year of training at CMAC’s Kampong Chhnang facility.

When the 17 arrive, CMAC will have a total of 52 explosive-sniffing dogs, Ratana said.

Specialised dogs like Rambo cost about $36,000 each, making the total donation equivalent to more than $600,000.

CMAC’s explosive-sniffing dogs are all flown in from Sweden, Germany, Holland, Thailand and Bosnia, said Hang Rith, director of CMAC’s dog program. While their help is invaluable, other tools are necessary to completely clear areas of mines and bombs.

“We train the dogs only to sniff out the explosive substance – TNT, not the metal or wood,” Rith said. “Dogs and metal detectors will help speed up our mine-clearing efforts in Cambodia.”

Deaths from unexploded ordnances have dropped in recent years, with 22 last year, down from 43 in 2012, according to figures from the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority.

Despite the dip in tragedies, Rith said, there are still about 2,000 square kilometres of Cambodian land teeming with mines. According to the Cambodian government’s National Mine Action Strategy, the cost of clearing all mines from Cambodian soil by 2019 will total about $450 million.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the