Wildlife Protection Services NZ dog handler, Leona Plaisier, trains and works with two rodent-detection dogs for conservation projects in the Marlborough, Tasman and Wellington regions.
The fox/border terriers, Bail and Odin, were bred and trained specifically for detecting rodents. The dogs and handler team started working together six years ago and have since been part of over twenty different projects.
The team played a vital role in the rodent detection group deployed on Macquarie Island in the Australian sub-Antarctic. After spending 13 months there, they returned in April 2014 when the successful eradication of Macquarie Island was announced.
Leona, Chase & Bail on Macquarie Island
How we work
Working alongside the Department of Conservation and private projects alike, the dogs and handler are available to assist in the following ways:
- Detecting the presence of rats or mice
- Identifying rodent populations
- Assisting in quarantine procedures of vessels/ cargo/ food/ passengers
- Aiding in standard rodent monitoring
- Checking for rodents in the presence of rare or endangered species
- Participating in advocacy work for schools and universities interested in dogs working for conservation
8-hour day per 100 hectares
Most common length of time required by the team in good conditions to operate is an 8-hour day per 100 hectares for normal surveillance.
This time increases depending on how thorough the search needs to be and in what conditions they are done.
In the case of an island the service of a vessel will give more time to survey rugged and hard-to reach coastlines.
Dog handler Leona and her dogs Bail & Odin at Tui Nature Reserve