Paws for thought on Threatened Species Day

A crack team of professional sniffer dogs will be unleashed to help protect and conserve the state’s threatened species as part of the NSW Government’s five year $100 million Saving our Species program.

Penny, a detector dog used to find the rare Eastern bristle bird (Dasyornis brachypterus)

The team of 10 English springer spaniel and cocker spaniel detectives, trained to sniff out endangered species, would be put through their paces to mark National Threatened Species Day, Environment Minister Mark Speakman said.

The four-legged detectives are trained to sniff-out threatened species such as koalas, quolls, eastern bristlebirds and the Bell’s Turtle. They will be deployed on some of the Government’s newly established 240 threatened species projects.

“We have this class of canines all barking up the right tree – they won’t roll over until they’ve picked up the scent,” Mr Speakman said.

“Penny, the English springer spaniel, has already been successful in detecting the odour of endangered coastal emu birds in places where there is no physical evidence obvious to humans that the birds have been there.”

Mr Speakman said the NSW Government had allocated $16 million to this year’s new 240 projects.

Office of Environment and Heritage Senior Threatened Species Officer Lynn Baker said the NSW Government’s detection dogs have the best nose in the business.

“A detection dog’s nose is more than one thousand times better than a human’s at detecting a target scent and these dogs can find a species when all of our other standard survey techniques fail,” Ms Baker said.

National Threatened Species Day is held on 7 September each year to commemorate the death of the last Tasmanian tiger at Hobart Zoo in 1936.