Using Conservation Detection Dogs to protect and preserve our natural environment is becoming a more efficient and popular survey method worldwide. Dogs are currently being trained to detect a wide range of species from Red Squirrels to invasive plant species and even aquatic freshwater crayfish, to name just a few. This is all possible due to a dog’s amazing olfactory system. Dogs are thought to have a sense of smell 100,000 times greater than a person, making them the perfect weapon to sniff out species we wish to protect or remove to prevent causing harm.

At MKO, we are taking the first exciting steps into the world of Conservation Detection Dogs. The current aim of the team is to detect bird and bat carcasses at wind farm sites across the country. Wind power is an important way to provide renewable energy and for Ireland to meet its carbon goals while also meeting rising energy demands. While intense bird and bat surveys are carried out prior to wind farm construction, the question remains are there fatalities at these sites and how many? This is where the dogs come into play. Dogs are highly efficient when trained correctly to discover these fatalities. The average size of a bat in Ireland is about the size of a €2 coin, now try looking for that around a turbine in thick vegetation! No problem for these dogs.

Thanks to the work of Kryus Limited Canine Specialists, MKO has acquired two amazing dogs. Our latest additions have undergone an intense Conservation Detection Dog handler training course in Belfast. This course accredited by LANTRA certifies our handlers, Keith Costello and Cathal Bergin, as competent trained Conservation Detection Dog handlers. They join a small number of individuals who hold such an accreditation. Together with Taio, a highly energetic Springer Spaniel and Clay, a cuddle driven Red Labrador, our team are eager to get to work and drive the use of conservation detection dogs’ future.