Second biosecurity detector dog team for Queenstown

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Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

A new detector dog team has started sniffing out biosecurity goods carried by international travellers arriving at Queenstown, doubling the number of Ministry for Primary Industries dog teams working in the region. 

Sam (beagle) and Deanna McKay (handler) started in Queenstown last month after previously working at Auckland’s international airport.

They join detector dog Zeta and hander Belinda Phelon in helping prevent unwanted pests and diseases from entering Central Otago.

“The additional team will provide extra detector dog power as we gear up for a busy summer – both in terms of passenger numbers and the heightened risk of fruit fly, due to outbreaks in Australia and other parts of the Pacific,” says Steve Gilbert, MPI’s  Border Clearance Services Director.

“Detector dogs are a very effective biosecurity tool. They can pick up seeds and plants that can be hard to detect by x-ray.

“They also screen people faster than x-ray, and their visual presence sends a message to arriving passengers about how seriously New Zealand takes biosecurity.”

The new biosecurity dog team in Queenstown comes on top of the installation of a third x-ray machine at the airport in early September for screening arriving baggage for risk items.

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