Detection Dogs for Conservation | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Detection Dogs for Conservation

Mission statement

Working in partnership with community, industry and government to create positive change and effective ecological conservation for wildlife through the development, implementation and sharing of our expertise, knowledge and innovative technologies.

Our work

UniSC’s Detection Dogs for Conservation plays a critical role in providing vital ecological research, evidence and support to help in the protection and preservation of Australia’s unique wildlife and habitats through collaboration with partners like IFAW and WWF, and in consultation with private organisations and government.

When the team is not out in the field conducting surveys for important research into animal and habitat protection, they help to detect sick and injured koalas and other endangered wildlife that are in need of rescuing . This type of detection work for rescue is always important and only made possible through donations and partner sponsorships, which was never as critical as during the intensity and aftermath of the 2019/20 Australian bushfires. See how you can get involved and help us to continue to detect, protect and preserve Australia's unique wildlife.

A dog's nose knows

Dogs have a lot more smell receptors than humans, making them ideal for locating wildlife. The right dog can be trained to track anything that emits an odour, whether it’s flora or fauna, on land or even under the sea!

Because they can smell what we can’t see, dogs are used in conservation to track and help rescue rare animals such as koalas, quolls and masked owls, to detect pest species, and locate threatened native plants.

The work of the USC Detection Dog team has an immediate and profound impact, with the team often helping to locate injured, malnourished or isolated wildlife after severe natural disasters such as the 2019/20 Australian bushfires.

Technology enables protection

It’s not just about the dogs - technology plays an equally important part in the DDC’s work. The team uses heat-monitoring drones and tracking devices to help locate and keep track of koalas. Technological methods in which “citizen scientists” can be enabled to help protect the animals who fight to survive in our urban areas are currently under development.

USC Detection Dog Bear and Dr Romane Cristescu
Research

The DDC conducts vital research by working with governments, businesses and not-for-profit organisations to inform new initiatives and policies for greater protection of ecosystems. The information that is gathered on the presence and health of wildlife is key to decision-making about animal habitats in Australia and potentially, around the world.

Dr Riana Gardiner
Get involved

Our researchers are passionate and enthusiastic conservationists, but conservation is something we can all contribute to – directly or indirectly – and we would love your support.

Dr Romane
Our researchers

The USC Detection Dogs for Conservation team was founded in 2015 by USC researcher Dr Romane Cristescu and Associate Professor Celine Frere. They saw massive potential in using detection dogs to protect and preserve Australia's unique wildlife, many species of which are now under threat.

Bear - Koala Detection Dog
The DDC dogs

Our dogs are passionate and enthusiastic workers, and we all have a part to play in the conservation. If you are able to support our work by donating, it will mean we can spend more time in the field with the DDC dogs like Bear, Baxter, Maya and Billie protecting Australia’s unique wildlife.

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