Adoption profile: Detection Dogs

Adopting an animal is a fantastic way to support the work of the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and Malawi’s only wildlife sanctuary.

Max, Tim, Nikita and Dana are the amazing canines that make up Malawi’s Wildlife Detection Dog Unit (WDDU). Established in 2018, the unit plays a crucial role in detecting and deterring the trade of illegal wildlife products in and around Malawi, helping to protect endangered species such as elephants and rhinos. 

The dogs are trained to use their keen sense of smell to search for wildlife contraband, and are on duty at key hotspots for wildlife crime including airports, roadblocks and locations in and around Malawi’s National Parks. When they are not on operation the dogs follow a carefully planned schedule of training, exercise and enrichment to build bonds with their handlers and hone their detection skills. The unit has helped authorities to seize a number of illegal wildlife products and in 2019 it was involved in raids which led to the arrest of twelve members of an international trafficking syndicate.

Your £40 support will help us uphold the highest standards of welfare for these extraordinary working dogs, making sure they have the right food, veterinary care, exercise, stimulation and training to perform their jobs and protect threatened wildlife.



AGE: 4

BREED: German Shepherd

HANDLERS: Hardwell & Agnes

ABOUT: Max loves water so will take any chance he gets to lie down in a puddle! Needless to say, rainy season is his favourite time of year.


AGE: 4

BREED: Belgian Malinois

HANDLERS: Peter & Martha

ABOUT: The cleanest dog in the unit, Tim likes to keep his kennel tidy! He is affectionate with WDDU staff and other dogs and loves playing with his kennel mate, Nikita.


AGE: 4

BREED: Belgian Malinois


ABOUT: Nikita is old before her years and our calmest dog, so is often used as the ‘demo dog’ when our handlers need to practise their skills.


AGE: 18 months

BREED: Belgian Malinois

HANDLERS: Ernest & Kinord

ABOUT: The newest member of the unit, Dana joined the team in August 2019. Dana is very people orientated and loves working hard to please her handlers.