Breed: Australian Koolie
Special skill: Finding fresh koala scats for DNA analyses
Experience: Deployed since 2017
Quirks: Does a circle on the spot before signalling that she’s found a fresh koala scat. Loves letting the waves wash over her back at the beach.
Billie (also known as Billie-Jean) seems shy when you first meet her but really she is just independent.
Billie is trained to find fresh koala scats that are less than a week old, which has proved very valuable for us because it means we can take the scats away for genetic sampling.
The extracted DNA can be used for disease mapping and determining relationships between different koalas in a population area – useful information to have for research purposes.
Apart from research, the genetic sampling can be used to contribute towards information that governments, planners, conservationists and community groups use to make informed decisions about our local environments. It’s what leads to better conservation outcomes for everyone.
Like our other detection dogs, Billie is all business when she’s working in the field. She works quickly and efficiently, covering a large area in a small amount of time. She is very thorough and always makes sure there are no fresher scats available before she indicates. That means she often has taken us all the way to a koala before showing us the fresh scats, an added bonus for our research.