Turtle eggs discovered at Auckland Airport

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 endangered species.

"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 and eggs.

"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 courier mail.

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



Last Updated: 04 October 2010

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

0800 00 83 33