Meet some of the explosive detection dogs on trial in Vietnam, sniffing out explosive remnants of war.
Meet some of the impressive Explosive Detection Dogs (EDD), and their expert handlers, who are currently sniffing out cluster munition remnants and other potentially lethal explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Vietnam. The dogs and their handlers are on loan from Cambodia as part of a trial project funded by Sweden / the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The project demonstrates the effectiveness of the use of dogs, alongside manual and mechanical clearance assets, as a potential tool to address ERW and enable land to be returned to communities, free from danger.
During the four months of the trial implementation in Quang Tri Province, with support from Project RENEW’s field searchers, the EED team has surveyed and cleared 279,000m² of land in two districts of Cam Lo and Hai Lang. A total of 336 items of ERW, including 263 cluster munitions and 73 other explosive devices, were found and safely destroyed in the process.
Explosive Detection Dog: Fini
Born at the Bosnia-based NPA Global Training Center, Fini arrived in Cambodia when she was four. One year later, Fini started her training at Cambodia Mine Action Centre’s (CMAC) Mine Detection Dog Training Center in January 2015. Fini passed the final test and was licensed an Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) on 12 March 2015 and has been deployed to operation since then.
In July 2015, she was relocated to Vietnam’s Quang Tri Province to work for a trial EDD program of NPA and Project RENEW with funds provided by Sida. A friendly and sociable dog, Fini can work under high pressure and is highly motivated. From July to August 2015, Fini found a total of 105 items of unexploded ordnance, including 90 cluster munitions and 15 other explosive devices. [see above photo]
Handler: Meng Vanny
Joining the CMAC since 1996 as a deminer, 45-year-old Meng Vanny has acquired extensive experience in combat mine clearance, and in mine and explosive detection dog handling.
A father of two daughters and one son, Vanny now works for the MDD/EED Training Center and Management Dog Program of CMAC. From June to August 2015, Vanny was seconded to work as EDD handler for the pilot EDD program in support of BAC / CMRS operations of NPA through Project RENEW in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. [see above photo]
Explosive Detection Dog: O-Nada
Three-year-old O-Nada was relocated to Quang Tri Province, Vietnam in July 2015 to take part in the pilot EED program in support of battle area clearance (BAC) / cluster munition remnant survey (CMRS) operations implemented by NPA through Project RENEW. Born at the Bosnia-based NPA Global Training Center, O-Nada arrived in Cambodia in Jan 2014 and started his training at the CMAC MDD Training Center in January 2015. After passing the final test and receiving an operational license, O-Nada was deployed for field operations in Cambodia in March 2015.
O-Nada is well-known for his friendliness and motivation at work. His tail is always up while sniffing explosives in the field. A strong dog, O-Nada can work under pressure and has smell sensitivity within one-meter range. During five months of his work in Vietnam, O-Nada has detected 143 items of unexploded ordnance, including 109 cluster munitions and 34 other explosive devices.
Instructor: Lem Huot
35-year-old Lem Huot is a father of two boys and one girl. He started working for CMAC as a deminer in 1998 and since then has gained experienced in combat mine clearance, and in mine and explosive detection dog handling and training. Huot now works for the CMAC MDD/EDD Training Center as MDD/EDD Instructor. He was relocated to Quang Tri Province, Vietnam in June 2015 to support the pilot EDD program in support of BAC / CMRS operations of NPA through Project RENEW in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam.
Explosive Detection Dog: Xbox
A typical Belgian Malinois, three-year-old Xbox is a well-raised and trained EDD who is active, intelligent, friendly, and hard-working. Born and raised at the NPA Global Training Center in Bosnia, Xbox was taken to Cambodia when he was two years old. He started his training at CMAC Training Center in Jan 2015 and was accredited three months later.
Arriving in Vietnam on 1 September 2015 as a substitution for EDD Fini (returned to Cambodia on 30 August 2015), Xbox has demonstrated his ability to adapt quickly to a new working environment in Quang Tri Province. Xbox is an obedient and easy-to-handle dog, who works with his tail down while searching. So far, Xbox has found 6 cluster munitions and 12 other explosive devices.
Handler: Theam Sopheap
Father of two children, one boy and one girl, 35-year-old Sopheap has more than 15 years working with CMAC. Having started as a deminer, Sopheap now works as an EDD handler at the CMAC MDD/EDD Training Center. He was relocated to Vietnam in September 2015 along with his EDD Xbox to replace Vanny who had to return to Cambodia due to illness. A native Khmer speaker, Sopheap also has a good command of English.