Operational procedures for Animal Detection Systems

  • Version
    Ed. 4
  • Latest amendment
    10 Feb 2020

Animal Detection Systems (ADS) can be used in different roles within mine action programmes. ADS units are most suitable for land release operations in areas with low concentrations of Explosive Ordnance (EO) contamination. As such, ADS units are well suited for technical survey (TS), clearance of low-density EO contaminated areas, TS/clearance of roads/verges/railways, TS/Clearance of sites heavily contaminated with metal, Battle Area Clearance (BAC) and the Clearance of safe deployment lanes for ADS units and other assets.


Due to the many ways that ADS are used, and the variety of scenarios in which they may be utilised, it is not possible to establish uniform standards that can be applied under all circumstances. ADS are a tool that may be used in land release operations to support TS and clearance. When engaging in land release operations ADS units require accreditation in line with IMAS 07.31. Testing, in accordance with IMAS 07.12 and 07.40, should be used to confirm that individual ADS units satisfy quality requirements, particularly in terms of their capability to detect EO including, landmines and other target objects that may be specified by authorities, customers and other stakeholders.


While ADS is a generic term, only dogs and rats are currently in use. This chapter, however, will cover operational procedures relating to Mine Detection Dogs (MDD) and Mine Detection Rats (MDR) in the context of mine clearance (including the conventional Explosive Remnants of War (ERW)), while Explosive Detection Dogs (EDD) and other operational applications of ADS may be covered in the relevant annexes supporting this chapter. This chapter recognises that dogs may be used as MDD, Technical Survey Dogs (TSD) or both.


*This is a draft document that has been accepted by the IMAS Review Board, it still needs to be accepted by the IMAS Steering Group and then formally approved by the UN Inter-agency Coordination Group – Mine Action.

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