Training dogs to help the reds

Red squirrel detection dogs

On 29th June, Red Squirrels United staff and volunteers attended a workshop on training conservation detection dogs, specifically looking at whether dogs can help us to detect dead red squirrels in the field.

During a squirrel pox outbreak, any carcasses remaining in the environment can continue to be a source of infection. Disease outbreaks are difficult to detect in more remote areas or in low density red squirrel populations. In the past volunteers have put in long hours searching for dead red squirrels with little success.

But conservation detection dogs can find them easily with their amazing sense of smell. They also have the ability to search larger areas far more efficiently.

Our Red Squirrel Officer, Rachel has been working with Kryus Canine Limited to train her dog Max on how to detect dead red squirrels and also to put together this workshop for other staff and volunteers on the Red Squirrels United project.

Thank you to Kryus for running a fantastic, hands on, fun and informative workshop for us, going through the process from start to finish of how to train a detection dog.

We hope our red squirrel populations stay healthy, but if there is another pox outbreak we now have Max and Billy to help us detect it more quickly and another resource to manage it.

Find out what we are doing to help the Red Squirrels

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Luke Massey/2020VISION