Over 2017 a Springer Spaniel detection dog, Flinn, was trained in New Zealand to detect Argentine Ants on Norfolk Island. In October 2017 Flinn completed the training and plans were in place to have the dog here by January 2018. With all the permits and travel arrangements in place, final health checks were conducted on Flinn which uncovered some serious health concerns. Unfortunately it was discovered that Flinn has cancer and has fallen quite ill as a result. We are very saddened by the news, as is the dog trainer, who spent much of his time with the dog during his training.
As the detection dog is a critical component of the Argentine Ant Eradication Program, a replacement detector dog has been identified and training has now commenced. It is anticipated that intensive training will ensure the dog is ready to come to its new home here on Norfolk Island by June 2018. Below is a picture of Bella, our new Labrador.
A detection dog will be a huge asset to the Argentine Ant Eradication Program as the dog is capable of identifying small residual colonies of Argentine Ants, something that is a near impossible task for the field staff eradicated ants in the infestation zones across the island, particularly in heavily vegetated, large-scale zones. These clever dogs are trained to detect only the scent of Argentine Ants without being distracted by other ant species.