Maria Yagoda
March 10, 2016 08:22 PM

Ruger, a three-year-old Labrador retriever/German shepherd mix, is using his keen nose for good.

Instead of trying to steal hidden snacks like your standard dog, the rescue pup sniffs out ivory, guns and ammunition. With these skills Ruger has helped arrest dozens of African poachers, The Guardian reports.

Born on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, Ruger managed to escape when his owner shot the rest of his litter-mates. After being taken to a nearby animal shelter, a dog trainer from Working Dogs for Conservation in Montana found him — and thought he would make a perfect anti-poaching dog. Ruger now works in a national park in Zambia where animals are being poached, sniffing out elephant ivory and rhino horns.

While early in his training, Ruger snapped at people, he’s now become a valuable member of the anti-poaching team: So far, he’s helped nail 150 poachers.

“He’s a hero,” said Pete Coppolillo, executive director at Working Dogs for Conservation, “who’s responsible for dozens of arrests and has convinced many skeptics of his detection skills.” 

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