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Spaniel named world’s first great crested newt detection dog
When Rocky locates a great crested newt, he will sit or stand next to it and stare to alert his handler to its presence.

Sniffer dog’s skills used to preserve Protected species

Detection dog specialist Wagtail UK has announced that a five-year-old cocker spaniel named Rocky has passed all testing and is the first scientifically proven detection dog trained to detect great crested newts.

Great crested newts are a European protected species. Difficulty finding and relocating them can pose challenges for major infrastructure projects.

But, after several years of work, Wagtail UK and its sister company Conservation Dogs have developed a safe, efficient and accurate search method to detect live great crested newts using detection dogs.

There has been growing interest in the use of detection dogs for ecological surveys in the UK, as they can cover large areas of land quickly and with greater accuracy, in a more cost effective and non-evasive manner. However, there is currently no standard methodology for testing and accreditation of dog and handler teams.

Extensive scientific testing took place over an 18-month period, with the goal of determining whether dogs could reliably distinguish the scent of a great crested newt from that of other UK amphibians, and locate the protected species in the natural environment.

Rocky has been trained to ignore smooth newts and frogs as they are not protected in the same way. When he locates a great crested newt he will sit or stand next to it without touching it and stare to alert the handler of its presence.

Managing director at Wagtail UK Collin Singer said: “This work highlights the innovative manner in which dogs can be used in conservation and to assist with ecological surveys. Four years of research, painstaking trial and error – and now success has produced a brand new, innovative method of detection dog training by Wagtail UK and Conservation Dogs to find great crested newts.”

Image (c) Wagtail UK.

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Government to run free webinars on exporting horses

News Story 1
 The UK government has announced that it will be running two free webinars for horse owners and exporters, explaining what steps to take to export horses from 1 January 2021.

The first webinar will take place on Tuesday 20 October 2020, from 9.30am to 11am. It will cover Export Health Certificate (EHC) requirements from 1 January 2021. Click here to register.

The second webinar will take place on Wednesday 4 November 2020, from 10.30am to 12pm. This session will focus on the steps that businesses need to take to export equines from the UK to the EU. Click here to register.

For more information on exporting horses and ponies after 1 January 2021, please visit the website. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
More cases of African swine fever confirmed in Germany

More cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in wild boar in Germany.

According to Pig World, 20 outbreaks have been identified in two districts - Brandenburg, where the original case confirmed on September 10 was found, and near the town of Neuzelle, some 7.5 km away.

The finding represents a further seven cases confirmed by Germany's Friedrich-Loeffler Institute. A Central Crisis Team has been established to coordinate the response to the outbreak.