Demining Dogs in Colombia - A Review of Operational Challenges, Chemical Perspectives, and Practical Implications.

Research paper by Paola A PA Prada, Mario M Chávez Rodríguez

Indexed on: 21 Jun '16Published on: 21 Jun '16Published in: Science & Justice


Within the framework of an internal armed conflict in Colombia, the use of antipersonnel mines by revolutionary armed forces represents a strategic factor for these groups. Antipersonnel mines are used by these revolutionary forces as a mean to hinder the advancement of the national armed forces in the recovery of territory and to protect tactical natural resources and illegal economies within a given area. These antipersonnel mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are not of industrial manufacturing, and have a variety of activating mechanisms as well as non-metal materials which make them difficult for successful detection. The Colombian experience strongly represents the current need for advanced research and development of effective field operations within its affected territory. Current efforts are focused on a more operational demining perspective in coca cultivation sites in charge of mobile squadrons of eradication (EMCAR) from the National Police of Colombia working towards a future humanitarian demining upon an eventual peace process. The objectives of this review are not only to highlight already existing mine detection methods, but present a special emphasis on the role of mine detection canine teams in the context of this humanitarian issue in Colombia. This review seeks to bring together a description of chemical interactions of the environment with respect to landmine odor signatures, as well as mine detection dog operational perspectives for this specific detection task. The aim is to highlight that given the limited knowledge on the subject, there is a research gap that needs to be attended in order to efficiently establish optimal operating conditions for the reliable performance of mine detection dogs in Colombian demining field applications.