Maya | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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DOB: 2010

Breed: Blue Border Collie (working line)

Special skill: Finding koala scats (a proxy for habitat)

Experience: Deployed since 2011, joined the Detection Dogs for Conservation in 2015 - retired in 2022

Quirks: None. Maya is a queen – she always carries herself with dignity and grace.

Before Maya joined the Detection Dog team, she was in an animal refuge on death row.

Because she has a lot of traits that demand attention, it was difficult to find owners who were able to look after her properly. But those same traits – the high energy, the compulsiveness, the intensity – made her an ideal detection dog.

Maya - photo by Marie Colibri

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Maya - photo by Marie Colibri

As a detection dog, it was as if she had found her purpose. She focused all her energy on it.

That focused energy has made Maya’s accuracy in the field almost flawless, creating for us a valuable defender of Australia’s unique environments and a proud conservation warrior. She has found evidence of koalas living in or using habitats that had been previously searched by teams of humans, who had found nothing. In a test against human searchers, Maya proved to be 20 times faster at locating evidence of koalas in an area than humans, and 150 per cent more accurate.

As the founding dog of the team, Maya is the leader of the pack – a role she takes seriously. She is an awesome role model for all her colleagues – canines and otherwise: she is hard working, has high work ethics, is always motivated and in a good mood, and a pleasure to be around. She is a whole-rounded pup and a hard act to follow.