Dog fails to find ants
An expert sniffer-dog has scoured Ka¯ piti Island for any sign of Argentine ants and given it the all-clear.
Specialist ant-detection spaniel RhysJones and handler Brian Shields were drafted in from Auckland Council’s biosecurity team.
The Conservation Dogs Programme, supported by national partner Kiwibank has a total of 31 pest detection dogs with Rhys-Jones being the only Argentine ant dog.
The team were asked to check if the invasive ants had reached the Ka¯ piti Island Nature Reserve after being found at the mainland stepping off point at Paraparaumu Beach earlier this year.
Argentine ants are widespread in Ka¯ piti but this nest was close to where island tourism providers depart, increasing concerns ants could reach the native bird sanctuary.
The sweep was part of the Department of Conservation’s comprehensive plan to keep the Nature Reserve free of Argentine ants.