The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park employs a lean, mean team of crime-fighters to take on evil elephant poachers. These elite commandoes are fearless trackers, work for practically nothing, have exceptional loyalty, and are a pack of adorable puppies.
Meet Carla, Stella, Lila, Dodi, Lily, and Sabrina. The bloodhounds -- or Congohounds, as they’re called in Virunga -- are currently being trained to protect the National Park’s animals from poachers. Rangers rely on the hounds’ especially keen sniffers to track and apprehend suspects -- bloodhounds can identify a single scent out of 5 million competing smells.
The goal of the program is to better protect Virunga’s critically endangered mountain gorillas and other wildlife from poachers, and in general, help enforce the rule of law, which is critical to re-establishing Virunga’s tourism trade. The program will also greatly improve the park’s ability to quickly find lost and critically injured rangers, many of whom have died needlessly while awaiting help.