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Detection dogs and our ongoing monitoring network

The Island’s biosecurity program was upgraded in parallel with the REP. It has been reviewed following the detection of rats in 2021 and the Checkpoint program. 

Our permanent rodent detection and incursion response system focuses on targeted monitoring of high-risk reinvasion points. 

There are 83 rodent monitoring devices that are checked weekly at high-risk reinvasion points like the wharf and airport, including chew cards, wax tags, tracking tunnels and kill traps.

Our broader rodent detection network also includes devices in grids across the Island which are checked monthly. On top of 263 chew cards, wax tags, and tracking tunnels, the network also includes 162 cameras.

Dog sniffing incoming cargo from boat with dog handler

Permanent biosecurity dogs and handlers based on the Island routinely screen all incoming cargo and luggage. 

Pre-border inspections of passengers, luggage and freight take place before each flight at the Eastern Air hangar and are re-inspected once on the Island. 

Freight at the Birdon wharf in Port Macquarie is inspected for each voyage of the Island Trader both on mainland Australia and again on arrival on the Island.

Rodent detection dogs

Teams of specialist rodent detector dogs and handlers are the front-line defence of biosecurity on the Island. 

Using scent, dogs can produce a definitive outcome as to a rodent’s location and/or presence. They can effectively detect rodents at low populations.

Detection dog sniffing luggage at airport

If the dogs indicate the current or recent presence of any rodents, other detection devices are deployed as part of a rapid response plan to confirm, locate and kill the individual(s).

Island-wide detection dog searches occur regularly as part of ongoing rodent monitoring. 

Rodent detection dogs also sporadically undertake targeted searches of high-risk and random areas.