Dog to hunt turtle pests in Blackburn Lake
Posted by Miqe on November 12, 2009
IF THE turtles in Blackburn Lake don’t smell right, Angus will sniff them out.
The pure-bred labrador has been trained specifically to track and hunt down the illegally introduced red-eared slider turtle.
The invasive pest has been seen in Blackburn Lake Sanctuary, Elsternwick Park Lake and Ruffey Lake Park.
Click here to view more pictures (Opens in a new window.)
A turtle was captured in Blackburn Lake in January this year, but authorities believe up to three turtles and possibly a nest remain.
Gary Jackson, Angus’ trainer, said the five-year-old was the only dog in the world trained specifically to catch red-eared slider turtles.
“We have trained him to ignore native turtles and eggs,” Mr Jackson said.
“He loves finding the slider turtle’s nests; when he sniffs one he starts digging for it and unless we pull him off, he would dig all the way through to the nest and probably eat the eggs.”
Angus is on loan from the Queensland Government for the next week and will spend today hunting for the elusive turtle in Blackburn.
Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said the World Conservation Union listed the red-eared slider turtles as one of the world’s 100 most-invasive species.
The female turtle lays up to 70 eggs and, if unchecked, the species can destroy native habitats and food supply.
Red-eared slider turtles have a distinctive red stripe behind each eye and a dome shaped shell.
Mr Helper urged the public to report any sightings to the Department of Primary Industries on 136 186.
From: Whitehorse Leader