Breed: Border Collie
DOB: Dec 2015
Special skill: Finding fresh koala scats for DNA analyses
Experience: Since 2017
Quirks: Doesn’t like motorbikes or other loud noises. Is utterly madly in love with his trainer and handler. Compulsive licker. Melts the heart of anyone who meets him.
Before we adopted Charlie, he lived at a house with a small yard in the suburbs of Brisbane. We were told he was never walked, and in particular never socialised to the outside world. All day, every day all he saw was a small, fully fenced, suburban backyard.
Like so many of our detection dogs, his naturally high energy made him a bit of a problem dog. He would bark a lot and was fearful of new people.
Charlie came to us via a rescue group and he stood out for his obsession with balls – a key trait we seek out in all our detection dogs.
The work came naturally to Charlie. He was very talented and enthusiastic in the field, but we had to do lots of extra work to integrate him back into the world. Because he wasn’t socialised, Charlie saw everything as a threat.
He was originally trained to locate koala scat that contained traces of chlamydia. But because we want to collect data both on healthy and sick koalas, we felt it better to retrain him as a fresh scat detection dog. The ease with which we were able to retrain him was testament to Charlie’s adaptability when it comes to working in the field.
Since then, we have trained him to detect other threatened and endangered animals. He has worked to relocate quolls from dangerous construction sites and has been sent out to find the cute but endangered numbats in Western Australia.
We have invested a lot of work into Charlie. But it has been worth it. He has one of the most diverse and useful skill sets on the team – and we’re excited to see the important contributions he will make to Australian conservation and research in the future.
If you would like to support Charlie’s work, a donation would go a long way to ensuring we can continue protecting Australia’s threatened species.
Support USC's Detection Dogs for Conservation