Glyndwr campus hosts first ‘Great Crested Newt Detection Dog Conference’
Glyndwr University’s Northop campus has hosted the first Great Crested Newt (GCN) Detection Dog Conference and practical training day.
The event was run by Louise Wilson from the Conservation K9 Consultancy, which is based in Wrexham.
Louise is an internationally renowned detection dog handler and conservation dog trainer.
Her presentation focused on the complexities of dog selection for this specialist area, drawing upon her extensive experience of working with thousands of dogs both nationally and overseas.
Attendees had a unique opportunity to work alongside Louise with their own dogs for an initial assessment of dog / handler performance in a series of odour detection tasks.
The event was fully booked and attended by delegates from multidisciplinary backgrounds, including ecologists, dog trainers and construction industry consultants based across the UK.
It featured key industry experts including Luke Gorman, Associate Director (Ecology) for Atkins, one of the world’s most respected design engineering and project management consultancies, and Nicki Glover, an Ecologist from Wessex Water and Amphibian and Reptile Detection Dogs, one of the most experienced GCN detection dog handlers in the UK.
Luke discussed his involvement with the development and utilisation of conservation detection dogs since 2017 and is the technical lead for conservation detection dog work within Atkins.
Nikki has held seven Natural England research licenses for temporary and permanent possession, and also disturbance of wild GCN. These licenses enable the training of GCN detection dogs and research trials for her PhD.
Delegates heard how her specialist detection dog Freya has assisted with the translocation of GCN for essential pipeline installations to take place.
Nikki shared with the audience her vast experience on greenfield sites as well as active construction sites.
Afterwards, a highly engaging Q&A session took place, then a practical demonstration of Nikki incredible detection dogs.
Angela Winstanley, Senior Lecturer in Animal Studies, said the event was hugely successful with the potential to develop courses with the consultancy being explored.
She said: “The day was a huge success and paves the way for future development of courses and accreditation of professionals in collaboration with Conservation K9 Consultancy in this growing area.”
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