A pack of 10 Belgian shepherds arrived in Cambodia from Bosnia on Friday to bolster the country’s aging team of explosives-sniffing canines, courtesy of Norwegian People’s Aid, which is covering the roughly $36,000 cost, an official said Sunday.
Heng Ratana, director-general of the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), which received the dogs, said eight more were on the way as part of the donation.
He said the new dogs were between 6 months and 3 years old, and would be used to gradually replace some of the 36 CMAC dogs in the field across the country.
Mr. Ratana said the center had been using dogs since 1998.
While less efficient than mechanical mine detectors in heavy brush, he said, in open spaces such as fields and villages, “dogs are more efficient because dogs [have] no need to pick up [metal] fragments,” which can severely slow down deminers working with metal detectors.
Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, and remains contaminated by unexploded ordnance, which killed or injured more than 100 people last year.