Rodent Detector Dog Trial Commences In The Falkland Islands

Media release – 28/02/18

The Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) is pleased to announce the start of its trial biosecurity detector dog programme in association with Working Dogs for Conservation (WD4C).

The dogs and handlers arrived from the US on 25th February and will be based in the Falkland Islands for the next 3 months. While in the Falklands they will undertake searches of vessels to ensure they are rodent free before they set sail to South Georgia. A wide range of vessels will be searched, at anchor and alongside, including cruise ships, yachts, fishing vessels, and Government vessels. The presence of the team in the Falkland Islands provides the opportunity to collaborate with the Falkland Islands Government and British Forces South Atlantic Islands to deliver shared biosecurity objectives.

As part of the trial, WD4C will develop search protocols, training standards and risk assessments and then report back to GSGSSI on options for a longer-term rodent detection programme. They will also undertake a number of outreach activities in the Falkland Islands to raise awareness about biosecurity and look at potential for future long-term cross-territory collaboration.

The project is an important part of the enhanced biosecurity provision which is being put in place following recent work to eradicate invasive rodents on South Georgia by the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT). It complements a comprehensive range of other pre- and post-border biosecurity measures GSGSSI already has in place and which are set out in its Biosecurity Handbook.