Meet Bailey, the first wildlife detection dog in Indonesia

JAKARTA: With her sharp sense of scent, Bailey can typically be discovered sniffing out passengers’ suitcases and luggage in addition to dozens of vehicles passing via a busy ferry harbour connecting two of Indonesia’s largest islands.

She is typically flown to different elements of the huge archipelago nation to help regulation enforcers in monitoring down criminals and finding the place they stash their items.

At least as soon as per week, Bailey finds what she is searching for and instantly alerts her handler of the scents she has been educated to trace down – endangered and guarded animals.

“Most of the wildlife Bailey discovered were alive and being trafficked as pets,” Femke den Haas, an Indonesia-based animal rights activist informed CNA.

Den Haas is the co-founder of Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), a non-profit organisation which is caring for Bailey. She mentioned Bailey has additionally intercepted slaughtered protected animals and their merchandise, together with stuffed animals, skeletons, in addition to ivories and horns that are both meant as collectibles or for the manufacturing of Asian natural medicines.

READ: ‘I’m as good as any man’ – Aceh activist champions megafauna sanctuary preservation

Bailey, a soon-to-be four-year-old cocker spaniel with a joyous and playful manner, is Indonesia’s first wildlife detection dog.

According to Den Haas, Bailey has to this point rescued at the very least 6,000 life animals and foiled the shipments of numerous useless animals after lower than three years on the job.

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Wildlife detection dog, Bailey, and her handlers patrolling a serious ferry harbour in Indonesia searching for trafficked endangered animals. (Photo courtesy of Jakarta Animal Aid Network)

Bailey has additionally helped unravel main wildlife trafficking instances in Indonesia, dwelling to a whole lot of endemic species and thought of to be certainly one of the world’s hotspots for the trafficking of protected and endangered animals.

According to Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, unlawful wildlife trafficking prices the nation 13 trillion rupiah (US$912 million) in losses yearly, excluding the value of rehabilitating seized animals.


Bailey was born to a dog breeder who offered her as a pet to a household residing in the Netherlands. Months later, Bailey grew as much as be a hyperactive dog which doesn’t like to sit down nonetheless.  

“(Bailey) is not the type of dogs that can live in a house. She would jump on the table. She’s always busy. She’s always active. The family was going crazy. They couldn’t handle her. They wanted to get rid of her,” Den Haas mentioned.

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Indonesia’s first wildlife detection dog, Bailey, throughout her preliminary coaching in the Netherlands in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Jakarta Animal Aid Network)   

Around the similar time, Den Haas, a Dutch activist who has lived in Indonesia for nearly 20 years, was pondering of the way to cease wildlife trafficking. “I thought detection dogs might be the most effective tool to trace them. They have been used in Africa to combat poaching and I thought the same techniques could be applied here,” she mentioned.

Den Haas then reached out to totally different establishments about her concept. One establishment, Scent Imprint for Dogs (SIFD), which has a coaching centre in Den Haas’s dwelling nation, agreed to work together with her.

“I never thought about getting a dog from Holland but when I was in Holland to do a course with (SIFD), there was this dog named Bailey,” she mentioned. “(Bailey’s original owners) had reached out to SIFD. They didn’t want her to be rehomed to another family because she’s more fitting as a working line dog and not a pet.”

READ: Indonesian woman converts home into shelter for more than 300 stray and abandoned cats

Most regulation enforcement businesses and safety firms the institute was working with favor large, muscular and fierce-looking detection canines and never a small and pleasant cocker spaniel like Bailey.

However, in Den Haas’s eyes, Bailey was good. “We needed a dog that is not a scary German shepherd. Particularly because (wildlife detection dogs) were something completely new in Indonesia and in Indonesia, some people are scared of dogs for religious reasons. She’s perfect because she’s not intimidating, she’s small, she’s easy to handle,” Den Haas mentioned.  

“Everything just came together just at the right time. I stayed in Holland to get to know her and train with her. Bailey is very, very nice to everybody. She is a loving dog with a high energy and a very high working drive.”


Bailey, the first wildlife detection dog in Indonesia, will quickly flip 4 years previous. (Photo: Instagram/@wildlifeaidnetwork) 


Bailey was 9 months previous when she accomplished her coaching in the Netherlands in February 2018. By that point, she had been educated to detect something from endangered primates to unique birds which can be endemic to Indonesia.

Den Haas then took Bailey to Indonesia, the place she spent the subsequent few months acclimatising to the climate in the tropical nation in addition to to get to know and spend time with JAAN’s Indonesian group.


Bailey labored on her first case in May 2018, simply days after her first birthday.

“The Dutch police reached out to the Indonesian police and to us to build a case against this trader in Holland,” Den Haas mentioned.

Police in the Netherlands started investigating the case since 2016 when quite a few cargo containers filled with collectibles constructed from protected Indonesian wildlife had been intercepted by customs officers in the Dutch metropolis of Rotterdam.

Through years of investigation, the Dutch police discovered that the collectibles had been smuggled by a Dutch man residing in Bali. The man had been smuggling a whole lot of protected animals from Indonesia since 2013.

Police in Indonesia had been capable of arrest the man and with Bailey’s assist raided his home and a number of other artwork and vintage outlets the place he bought the wild animals from. The artwork and vintage outlets house owners had been additionally arrested and a whole lot of things, all constructed from endangered Indonesian animals, had been confiscated.

The case caught nationwide consideration each in the Netherlands and in Indonesia. Police officers from each nations who had been concerned in the case had been recommended for his or her work.  

“For us it was very special because Bailey was involved and it was a very important case. We’re really proud,” Den Haas mentioned.

Since then, Bailey had foiled numerous wildlife trafficking instances from the smuggling of dozens of child orangutans and gibbons to be offered as pets to the cargo of a whole lot of inexperienced sea turtles which had been sure to be harvested for his or her shells and meat.

READ: Meet the Indonesian doctor who has rescued more than 1,000 stray and abandoned dogs

“Bailey finds animals almost on a weekly basis and in big numbers because poachers don’t usually smuggle animals in small amounts,” Den Haas mentioned.  

Bailey now works primarily from an undisclosed location in Sumatra, the place a lot of the primates offered as pets in Java and Bali got here from. She additionally travels round the nation to help officers in amassing proof towards poachers and wildlife traffickers.


Since Bailey, JAAN has educated and employed 5 different wildlife detection canines stationed in varied areas throughout the nation. JAAN, Den Haas mentioned, is coaching its seventh dog.

“(SIFD) mentors also came to Indonesia to keep improving the skills of our trainers and handlers. Before COVID-19, they could come every few months. They still supervise us from afar and provide consultation,” she mentioned.

 “We also work with another group. With them, we can run the wildlife detection dog unit on a bigger scale.”

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Animal rights activist Femke den Haas, carrying Bailey, posed for a bunch photograph with Jakarta Animal Aid Network’s wildlife detection unit. (Photo courtesy of Jakarta Animal Aid Network)

Den Haas mentioned the different canines educated and cared for by JAAN reside as much as Bailey’s examples and popularity. “They are just as good,” she mentioned.

But as the first wildlife detection dog in Indonesia, Bailey will at all times have a particular place in Den Haas’s coronary heart.

“Bailey is our superstar. She’s just an amazing character. We’re really lucky to have her on the team. She’s the wildlife hero of Indonesia,” den Haas mentioned. 

Read this story in Bahasa Indonesia here.


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