Sea Shepherd Galapagos is pleased to announce a renewed agreement to extend cooperation of the K9 Police Unit specializing in the detecting of wildlife trafficking through 2017. Sea Shepherd Galapagos and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ecuador signed a formal agreement on May 8, 2014 to continue working together to support this one-of-a-kind police unit. This comes on the heels of the retirement of four sniffer dogs, Bosco, Cristina, Kevin and Nico, from the Galapagos K9 Police Unit. Sea Shepherd has been collaborating with the K9 Unit since 2008.
The K9 Unit is the only one in the country specializing in the detection of wildlife such as shark fins, marine iguanas, marine turtles, tortoises and sea horses. This unit is operated by the Ecuadorian Police, through its Environmental Unit, UPMA. The K9 Unit operates at various points of entry and exit in Galapagos to prevent and detect illegal wildlife trafficking.
Three new dogs will be brought in by Sea Shepherd, to serve the oceans and Galapagos wildlife. They will soon become part of the K9 Police Unit. The dogs will be trained by the Ecuadorian Police, which will also provide specialized training, including animal welfare training, to six new police guides who will be deployed on the three inhabited Galapagos Islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal and Isabela.
As part of the cooperative agreement, Sea Shepherd will continue providing food and veterinary care, in accordance with the parameters set by the Ecuadorian Police. In addition, Sea Shepherd, in coordination with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ecuadorian Police, will provide additional training to the guides on specific issues varying from Ecuadorian environmental law to application of international treaties, such as CITES.
Sea Shepherd lauds the fundamental role of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ecuadorian Police in the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking in Ecuador. In Galapagos, the experience of the Ecuadorian Police through its Environmental Unit has given the K9 Unit the opportunity to become a regional model with the potential to be replicated around the world. Sea Shepherd Galapagos, working alongside national authorities, aim to achieve that goal in the near future.