You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

New recruits to sniff out unwanted pests

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/01/2017

Six puppies billed as the next generation of super sniffers in the battle to keep agricultural pests out of New Zealand have been given names.

Hattie, Halo, Huia, Haze, Harley and Hunter were born in November and are crosses between a beagle and harrier hound, the Ministry for Primary Industries says.

The MPI has been breeding sniffer beagles for nearly 20 years, but in a bid to create bigger canines recently crossed them with a harrier in what they hope will lead to a new "super breed" of biosecurity dog.

MPI Detection Technology Manager Brett Hickman said the pups should grow to about the size of a labrador.

"We normally use beagles as biosecurity dogs. The beagle-harrier crosses will be taller than beagles, making it easier for them to sniff backpacks and airport luggage stacked on trolleys," he said.

If the new puppies pass their training, they will start work in 2018, detecting food and other items that pose a biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

Sixty MPI biosecurity dog teams are currently operating in the country's airports and ports.

"They are an essential part of New Zealand's biosecurity defences, particularly when it comes to locating seeds and other smaller risk items that can be hard to detect by baggage X-ray screening," Mr Hickman said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon