Archie wants to sniff your bag

JOHANNA CLELAND
Last updated 12:23 05/12/2013
sniffer dog
JOHANNA CLELAND
SNIFF TEST: Julia Edwards and her biosecurity beagle Archie.

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Wellington

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Wellington airport's newest employee has a nose for trouble.

Archie is an 18-month-old beagle who joined the Wellington International Airport biosecurity team with his handler Julia Edwards on Monday.

Fresh from graduating from a 10-week detector dog training course in Auckland, the pair are the second team to be based in Wellington.

They join Carlijn Bouwman and her dog Lenny, who have been here for a year.

Archie is trained to detect all biosecurity risks coming through international arrivals.

Julia said he was able to detect anything from fresh meat, dried meat and fresh fruit to plant material and eggs.

A day in the job for the team starts with a walk before heading to the airport.

After arriving at the airport, they go for another walk before Archie settles in the quiet room to calm down and get used to the environment.

When the international flights get in, it's time for Archie to get his nose into gear.

Though he and Julia are still new, they do 10-minute blocks working among the passengers by the luggage carousel.

At the end of the shift Archie goes for another walk before heading back to the kennels, where Julia feeds and plays with him before heading home.

Border Clearance Services manager Steve Gilbert said the addition to Wellington Airport brought it up to full strength before the busy summer season.

"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," Mr Gilbert said.

"They also screen people faster than X-ray, and their visual presence is a significant factor."

Julia and Archie were part of 37 new biosecurity staff to graduate as part of the Ministry of Primary Industries' aim of bringing frontline up to full strength before peak season.

The team will be working at the Wellington Airport and Wellington's port.

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- The Wellingtonian

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