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2 September 1998
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's outstanding success in using beagles and other dogs for quarantine clearance has led to two invitations from two other countries wanting to share its expertise.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has invited the Manager of the MAF Quarantine Service Detector Dog programme (DDP) to observe and review their current detector dog programme. Rene Gloor was invited at the request of the chairperson of the Hawaiian Board of Agriculture, James Nakatani.
In his invitation Mr Nakatani said "A year ago I visited New Zealand with a study group from Hawaii who were interested in the programme implemented by the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to minimise risk of entry of unwanted species. ... I had the opportunity to observe your canine programme in action which I found most impressive."
Mr Gloor will be offering advice and expertise on search methods to find undeclared agricultural items (including pets) in passenger luggage, cargo and mail, and commercial and military aircraft and cargo from Guam for possible hitchhiking brown tree snakes.
Following his stint in Hawaii Mr Gloor will return to New Zealand where he will complete a 12 week training course for a dog handler from Argentina, before travelling to Argentina himself, to conduct two weeks of field installation for the handler and his beagle, to set up their detector dog programme.
The New Zealand MAF Detector Dog programme (DDP) began in 1995. There are currently five operational detector dog teams working at Auckland International Airport and one at Christchurch International Airport. Two active response dog teams are focusing on searching incoming international mail at the International Mail Centre in Auckland. A further two teams recently graduated, and will be located at Christchurch and Wellington airports.
The average detection rate per dog handler team in New Zealand is eight seizures per day. They are trained to detect fruits, plant and vegetable products, meats, birds, eggs and reptiles which can act as hosts for the introduction of exotic pests and diseases.
"The requests from both North and South America are evidence of the high regard in which MAF's Quarantine Service is held internationally" said Neil Hyde, General Manager MAF Quarantine Service. MAF Quarantine Service is seen as a world leader in its field and in the last year alone provided quarantine and consultancy services to Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia and Tonga.
Mr Hyde said that they only agreed to a limited number of requests, because of the need to focus on protecting New Zealand's enviable biosecurity status.
Media enquires to:
Neil Hyde, General Manager, MAF Quarantine Service
phone: (09) 377 3008 or mobile: 025 928 254 or fax: (09) 302 0527