Photo Credit: Atkins
The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) SW Section convened a workshop in December 2018 that looked at how to get detection dogs more widely used in ecology. One of the outcomes was to set up a 'Working Group' to implement the recommendations from the workshop. These included the promotion of high quality standards, and mechanisms to address some of the potential barriers to the widespread and responsible adoption of detection dogs to assist ecological surveys within Britain and Ireland.
The working group aims to share knowledge and raise awareness and acceptance of the use of dogs in ecology and conservation, promote development of research-based standards, create a culture of responsible dog use and develop an accreditation process for dogs and trainers.
The need for accreditation in Britain and Ireland
The use of detection dogs for wildlife surveys in Britain and Ireland is a relatively new field and is inherently risky in terms of both potential effects on wildlife and with regard to the quality of the results obtained. To obtain reliable results it is important that robust scientific methods are followed, both during the training of the dog and handler and for the survey design and search methodology. It is imperative that experienced and well-trained dog and handler teams are used and these required skills can take years to develop. It is therefore important for the safety of the handler, the dog, and for wildlife, as well as for the quality of the work, that anyone seeking to engage dog and handler teams on a project should ask for evidence of how these teams meet the required level of competence to carry out the work. A formal assessment and training course for ecology detection dog handlers is currently in development.
Meetings and Key Outcomes
19th July 2019
• Start up meeting and introductions
• Agree objectives of the group
14th October 2019
• Members working on writing guidelines document
• Agree to share knowledge/collaborate with Australian Conservation Dogs Network (ACDN)
• Agree to take forward a program of speakers
4th February 2020
• Discuss topics raised in recent presentation from a member of ACDN
• Agree to work on logo
• Agree to work on website
2nd March 2020
• Discuss content and scope of LANTRA accreditation process
29th June 2020
• Discussed production of guidelines and LANTRA accreditation process
• Discussed refinements to website design
Geckoella is pleased to support the working group, as part of their ongoing commitment to innovation and best practice.