25 Aug 2021
Launched this season, we’ve worked in partnership with canine specialists Kryus and the Ecology Detection Dogs in Britain and Ireland Working Group to help train the dogs and our in-house handlers.
Creating a more resourceful way of working for our clients, the service will work by building upon the dogs’ extraordinary sense of smell to protect wildlife and habitats. Efficiently scanning anomalies that people simply can’t find, appropriately trained dog teams have been proven to be more effective than other methods, with almost near perfect accuracy.
The service has been led by RPS Senior Ecologist Frances Morris in the Southampton area. Frances undertook the accredited LANTRA (Land Management and Production, Animal Health and Welfare and Environmental Industries) Conservation Detection Dog Handler Course this year, and has been working alongside the group since 2018. The offering is now a faster, more efficient survey technique and an innovative new service line we’re thrilled to be rolling out.
Frances Morris comments: “I’m absolutely delighted to finally see this service coming to fruition. It’s going to be a huge benefit to clients: both as a more streamlined way of working and offering a reduced risk to our clients during precautionary working methods and areas with low population densities of protected species. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us as a business to contribute to the ongoing research in the use of detection dogs in the UK, particularly with respect to hazel dormouse.
“Canines are one of, if not the best sensory detective available. Scientists have tried to develop an instrument that is as sensitive as a dog’s nose for years, and as of yet have been unsuccessful. This just proves how essential a detection dog handling service will be for future work.”
Detection dogs are becoming more widely used across the country in wildlife detection, research and conservation roles. For example, in detecting presence of great crested newts, hedgehogs, pine martins, otters and water voles among many other.
As members of the Ecology Detection Dogs in Britain and Ireland Working Group, both Natural England and CIEEM (The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management), are working alongside the group’s members to create standardisation in the industry. Other key stakeholders are also working closely together to improve the standards in the UK.
Find out more about our Ecology services
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