It may not sound glamorous to be a ‘Poo detection dog’ but these pups know their scat. Koala scat that is…
Koala numbers are difficult to document. Their natural habitat is constantly in decline with tree felling and the urban housing sprawl. It’s important to monitor these furry Australian icons so we can establish the health of their pooplulations, oops, we meant populations. Koala’s spend very little time on the ground and are often difficult to spot, perched high in the canopies where they feed and sleep. They do leave a calling card however and produce 10 (sometimes up to 150) olive sized scat pellets per day. The pellets carry the unique ‘fingerprint’ DNA of the animal they belong to including gender, origin and geneflow (who’s related).
Two very special English Springer Spaniels ‘Taz’ & ‘Nutmeg’ who are specifically trained to find koala poop are right on the scent and believe us when we say they’re good. A recent television program demonstrated a test where koala scat was concealed within a package of coffee and it was stilldetected by the canine. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and find much enjoyment in nose-work.
Taz & Nutmeg are hard workers. In just 23 days the two beautiful dogs investigated a search area of 330 kilometres. Trainer Olivia Woosnam attested that they’re both always eager to begin work sniffing out koala droppings and they adore a game with the tennis ball afterwards as a reward for their efforts.
Once the scats are found they are delivered to Wild DNA in Victoria where they will be tested for genetic analysis. This way, a profile of individuals koalas in an area can be documented.
If you live in South-East Qld, keep an eye out for the Spaniel Superhero’s as they’ve already worked more than 12 bushland areas in our region. Their invaluable work will contribute to solutions for maintaining a koala habitat into the future and help protect this most vulnerable animal.
To see this work in action, click the link below…
Leah & Angela OMeara
Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)