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Sniffer Detection Dogs in protecting threatened wildlife

An important conservation role for sniffer detection dogs

Dogs have been used for hunting for millennia, not only for their brilliant sense of smell but also because they co-exist with humans and can be trained. Even in WWII dogs were given animal VCs for their efforts in sniffing out humans caught in bomb-blasted buildings in the Blitz in Britain. It has taken us this long to get dogs involved in the management of threatened wildlife, particularly seabirds. Indeed, New Zealand has been using detector dogs for almost 20 years to manage threatened species and to help remove pest species in conservation programs. Steve Austin, professional dog trainer, outlines how dogs are trained to detect specific scents and why this work is important Nicholas Carlile, Senior Research Scientist for Threatened Island Fauna in the NSW Office for Environment and Heritage, tracks down the role sniffer dogs have in protecting threatened species like seabirds.

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