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25 July 2003
One of MAF Quarantine Service's newest detector dogs discovered 20 turtle
eggs yesterday at Auckland International Airport.
MAF biosecurity detector dog Griff alerted his handler to the eggs, in flight
baggage from Bangkok, Thailand.
"Sand-covered turtle eggs were discovered in a woman's luggage,"
said Fergus Small, General Manager, MAF Quarantine Service.
"Turtle eggs are a rare find and in many countries turtles are an
"This was the first big find for one of our new dogs, Griff, who is just
14-months old and has been working at the airport for six weeks.
"The dogs are specially trained to sniff out items such as meat, fruit
"The passenger had declared the food items and advised she planned to
eat them," Fergus Small said.
The eggs have since been destroyed.
MAF operates strict biosecurity procedures to prevent the introduction of
pests and diseases of animals and plants.
MAF inspects or x-rays all incoming passenger baggage and mail, making New
Zealand the only country with this level of quarantine at the border.
Biosecurity detector dogs work at New Zealand airports, seaports and
international mail centres. They, with their dog handlers, also check cargo and
MAF's Quarantine Service comprises 500 staff and 24 trained detector dogs
in 24 locations around the country, covering the main air and sea ports.
Clearances of imported goods (such as commercial cargo / personal effects) is
also carried out at approved transitional facilities throughout New Zealand.
Quarantine Officers also conduct inspections in Japan, Australia and the USA to
facilitate biosecurity clearance of goods imported from those countries.
Madeleine Setchell Senior Communications Adviser MAF Communications Tel 04
470 27 53 Mobile 027 435 35 75