New dog teams boost NZ's biosecurity

Last updated 06:33 03/07/2014
Biosecurity dogs

GOOD NOSES: Biosecurity dogs, from left, Kim Hughes with Enya, Gerrie Stoltz with Snoop, Kimberley Sell with Helga, Mikaella Pearce and an unnamed dog, and Lucy Telfar with Clara.

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Two new biosecurity detector dog teams have just started at Auckland, with the job of sniffing out exotic pests and diseases that pose biosecurity risk to New Zealand, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Kim Hughes and Lucy Telfar graduated from their training at a ceremony in Auckland earlier this month, along with 25 other new biosecurity frontline staff, including two other detector dog handlers who will start soon in Auckland.

The appointments bring the number of detector dog teams patrolling the city's international airport, port, cargo and mail centre to 26.

Hughes will work with detector dog Enya, a labrador, which had previous experience as a detector dog. Telfar will work with new detector dog, a beagle, Clara.

"The new dog teams will allow greater biosecurity scrutiny across a range of pathways, including more visits to regional locations," said border clearance services manager Steve Gilbert.

"No tool is sufficient to manage biosecurity by itself. Dogs are good at picking up seeds and plants that can be hard to detect by X-ray. They also screen people faster than X-ray, and their visual presence is a significant factor."

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- Manawatu Standard

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