Saturday, June 15, 2024

Auckland’s first biosecurity dog farewelled

Auckland Council has farewelled its very first biosecurity dog, with Foxy-Jack Russell terrier ‘Tui’ passing away recently following an incredible 13 years of service to the community.

Tui was part of Council’s conservation dog programme and spent her life sniffing out rodents who threatened our native species.

A large part of her job involved biosecurity work at the wharves helping protect the Hauraki Gulf Islands by making sure they were kept pest free.

She was also the poster girl of Council’s biosecurity efforts, proudly gracing the sides of biosecurity fleet vehicles.

Tui’s handler, Brian Shields trained her from a puppy and worked with her until her retirement in 2019. Since then, he says she has been lounging on her lazy-boy in his home wiling away her time.

“She was an amazing dog, always so keen to work but in later years her hearing failed her, she became harder to direct in the field and despite her enthusiasm and fitness, it was time to put her “nose out of joint” and retire her,” he says.

Upon her retirement Tui was presented with her ‘AT Hop’ card and her ‘Gold Card’.

She took her job seriously, taking her skills across the country to help other conservation organisations deal with their pest populations.

Tui was also part of the Million Dollar Mouse project team who in 2018 travelled to the sub-Antarctic Antipodes Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to confirm the 2016 bait drop had been successful and the island was finally “mouse free”.

She was 15 when she died and leaves fond memories with those who knew and worked with her, Council said in a statement.

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