(Picture Credit: CarlFourie / Getty Images)

Two police dogs are about to swap the UK for Thailand in a bid to help save endangered pangolins, per Reuters.

Buster and Bess, both Labrador Retrievers, have recently completed an eight-week training program with the police. And next month, they’re set to fly out to Thailand.

Saving the Pangolins

Their role is an important one – they’re going to be sniffing out endangered animals like the pangolin, preventing people from smuggling them out of the country. They’re part of a new team that’s working together to help endangered animals in the southeast Asian country.

They’ve made a visit to London Zoo too, to meet some of their teammates and also take a look at the penguins – after all, even such hardworking dogs need a bit of fun too.

“Not all heroes wear capes: some walk on all fours and have extremely powerful noses,” said pangolin specialist Georgina Gerard.

For the most part, the two pups will be working around airports, ports, and roads. Here pangolins are often illegally transported. Should they find any pangolins, they’ll be cared for by veterinarians and conservations, before being released back into the wild.

A Unique, Yet Endangered Mammal

According to the World Wildlife Fund, pangolins are the most trafficked animal in the world. All eight species are on the red list of threatened species, meaning that they could be at risk of extinction. They’re sometimes used in folk medicine, while there’s a lot of illegal international trade in their skin, scales, and meat.

They’re sometimes known as scaly anteaters or mistaken for reptiles, but pangolins are actually mammals. It used to be thought that they were closely related to animals like armadillos, anteaters, and sloths. However, it turns out that their closest relatives include the mongoose, as well as cats, dogs, and bears.

However, they’re a very unique mammal – perhaps one of the most unique we have.

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