Great story via High Times!
Forget the hounds. Police in China are releasing the squirrels.
Law enforcement in the city of Chongqing reportedly announced that it is training a team of drug-sniffing squirrels to help locate illicit substances and contraband.
Insider reports that the police dog brigade in the city, located in southwestern China, “now has a team of six red squirrels to help them sniff out drugs in the nooks and crannies of warehouses and storage units.”
According to Insider, “Chongqing police told the state-linked media outlet The Paper that these squirrels are small and agile, and able to search through tiny spaces in warehouses and storage units that dogs cannot reach,” and that the “squirrels have been trained to use their claws to scratch boxes in order to alert their handlers if they detect drugs, the police said.”
“Squirrels have a very good sense of smell. However, it’s less mature for us to train rodents for drug search in the past in terms of the technology,” said Yin Jin, a handler with the police dog brigade of the Hechuan Public Security Bureau in Chongqing, as quoted by the Chinese state-affiliated English newspaper Global Times.
“Our self-developed training system can be applied to the training of various animals,” Yin added.
The newspaper noted that in contrast to drug dogs, “squirrels are small and agile, which makes them good at searching high places for drugs.”
According to Insider, “China’s drug-sniffing squirrels may well be the first of their kind,” although “animals and insects other than dogs have also been used to detect dangerous substances like explosives.”