“Sniffer Detector Dogs have been used in the past for the war on drugs, explosives, termites and to find invasive wildlife species like foxes and rabbits. Now they are being used to find and conserve threatened wildlife species.
Martin Dominick from The K9 Centre and Dr Kellie Leigh from Science for Wildlife Inc, trained a dog to track a declining native species the Tiger Quoll ( Dasyurus masclatus) the largest carnivorous marsupial on the Australian Mainland. Tiger Quoll numbers have dropped so low that traditional survey methods like camera-traps are no longer producing results in many areas. Kellie and Martin trained Badger, an Australian Shepherd, and not only can Badger track down scats from quolls he has also taken part in some important scientific research.
Wildlife detection dogs have been used overseas, particularly in the USA, for many years but are relatively new to Australia. The Australian Academy of Science funded a study to evaluate how detection dogs perform in Australian conditions and habitats, so that we can make sure detection dog wildlife surveys are effective here. The study yielded some very interesting results and will soon be published and available here. Overall our research showed that there are very few limitations on detection dog performance in Australian habitats, but there are a few tricks in training and handling that can be used to improve the likelihood of finding threatened species.”