An eight-year-old mine detection dog imported from Bosnia in 2014 died on Saturday due to cancer.
Heng Ratana, director-general of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre, yesterday said Dia, the canine, died from breast cancer after serving for four years.
“We regret losing the mine detection dog because she was smart,” Mr Ratana said, noting that her 10 offspring will be trained to detect landmines and unexploded ordnance.
Mr Ratana said Dia was born in 2012 and was trained for one year before she was deployed in 2015.
“A team, which included Dia and another dog, found 52 cluster bombs in Kampong Cham province,” he said.
Mr Ratana noted that CMAC’s Landmine/UXOs Dog Centre has 132 dogs.
However, Mr Ratana said CMAC will need additional canines to help clear fields ridden with unexploded ordnance.
“CMAC wants 250 dogs to serve as detectors because by doing so, we will be able to use less manpower,” he said, noting that a mine-clearing canine can cost between $35,000 and $50,000. “We can’t do it yet because these dogs are expensive.”
“I appeal to people to promote and support these dogs because they not only help detect landmines and UXOs, but they also serve to prevent drugs from being smuggled, and ensure security. So people should not eat dog meat,” Mr Ratana added.
Mine detection dogs play an important role in locating where landmines and UXOs are buried.
Earlier this month, CMAA reported a 73 percent increase in the number of casualties during the first four months of this year when compared to the same period last year. It said that 26 incidents occurred from January until April, compared to 15 last year.
“Of the 26 mines and explosive remnants of war accidents, eight cases, or 31 percent, involved mines, while 18, or 69 percent, were ERW accidents,” the report said.
“From January to April, eight people were killed and 39 others were injured,” it added. “[Last year in the same period] five people were killed, 19 were injured.”
The report noted that from January 1979 to April this year, a total of 64,825 incidents were recorded, which killed 19,776 people and injured 36,007 others.