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Glastonpark Spaniels on Macquarie Island

 

Renowned International Dog Trainer, Mr Steve Austin on Maquarie Island. The dog on the right is Glastonpark Quail (Ash), the dog on the left is Hycar Augustas (Gus), a dog bred from Glastonpark Sweetheart.

 

The Southern Ocean is one of the last true vast wilderness areas and includes remote islands of global importance, like Macquarie Island.

 

Australia's World Heritage Macquarie Island, 1500 kms south-east of Tasmania, is home to nearly four million seabirds, provides nesting habitat for four threatened albatross species, and is a breeding ground for about 850,000 pairs of royal penguins.

 

But Macquarie Island's fragile vegetation and wildlife is under attack from invasive species, especially rabbits and rats. Severe overgrazing caused by over 100,000 rabbits is causing landslides that are destroying seabird nesting habitat. Rats also attack nests to eat eggs and kill both adult birds and chicks.

The Tasmanian Government has developed a $24.6 million plan to eradicate rabbits, rats and mice. On June 4, 2007 The Tasmanian and Commonwealth governments announced they had come to an agreement to fully fund the plan. Given the two year lead time before eradication can begin, it is important that planning occurs quickly so that work can commence by winter 2009.

 

(Information taken from World Wildlife Funds Wesite)

We were contacted by the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service to see if we would be willing to provide and train English Springer Spaniels to help in the eradication of rabbit population.

 

This project due to its very nature is an area where the dogs needed to be trained to a very high level to enable them to hunt rabbits but to ignore all other forms of wildlife on the island.

 

Mr Steve Austin the renowned International dog trainer based in Sydney was selected to “head up” the training of the dogs for Maquarie Island.  Steve will be known to many of you through his association with the TV Show “Harry’s Practice”.  Steve’s knowledge of training dogs, especially Springer Spaniels, is second to none in Australia.

 

The Spaniels are now ready to be deployed on Maquarie Island but their departure has been delayed as the initial baiting of the island had to be postponed due to bad weather.

 

We are very proud of our association in this project on Maquarie Island.  If you would like to follow the progress of the project then contact : mieradication@parks.tas.gov.au and they will be pleased to send you updated newsletters periodically.

 

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