ENHANCING OPERATIONS

KFS commissions dog unit to boost forest patrols

Canines to enhance detection of illegal forest produce

In Summary

• Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau on Thursday said the service has integrated the use of security trained dogs within its enforcement and compliance division. 

Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau and KFS commandant Alex Lemarkoko inspect the canine unit.
Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau and KFS commandant Alex Lemarkoko inspect the canine unit.
Image: KFS

The Kenya Forest Service has commissioned a guard dog unit to be used to detect illegal forest produce such as sandalwood.

Chief Conservator of Forests Julius Kamau on Thursday said the service has integrated the use of security trained dogs within its enforcement and compliance division. 

It is one of the strategies to complement the work of rangers in forest protection, conservation and management. 

The K9 Unit will help deal with the ever-changing dynamics of forest-related crimes.

Kamau received the first batch of six trained K9 Unit dogs at KFS headquarters. He also awarded certificates to two forest rangers for completion of a K9 security training course.

KFS is the national agency responsible for the conservation and management of public forests. It manages 6.4 million acres and helps counties manage 4.2 million acres.

Kamau said KFS is also considering expanding the K9 Unit within KFS jurisdictions such as border and along checkpoints on critical transit areas across the country to strengthen the monitoring and enforce regulations on the trade of timber.

He said that the K9 Unit will secure other critical KFS installations.

The unit comes at a time Kenya seeks to increase the tree cover.

Kenya's forest cover is 7.4 per cent while the constitutional requirement is 10 per cent minimum.

The government has committed to increasing the cover to 10 per cent by 2022. Some 2 billion trees will be planted.

At the event, Kamau was joined by KFS commandant Alex Lemarkoko, head of Nairobi Conservancy Francis Kariuki and Nairobi regional commandant Charles Otieno.