Brisbane Airport embarks on new wildlife dispersal program
Monday 16 March 2020
Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) is trialling the use of a canine to strengthen its comprehensive wildlife management strategy and ensure safety of aircraft using Brisbane Airport.
Ozzie the German Shepherd is 18 months old, loves balls, despises birds, and has been with BAC for four months after failing to make the grade as a police dog with the Queensland Police Service (QPS).
While Ozzie may not have displayed the right traits for detection work, his incredible ball drive, agility and presence were perfect for BAC’s trail Canine Program.
BAC has worked closely with the QPS to facilitate Ozzie’s training, which is ongoing.
Jackson Ring, BAC’s Wildlife Management & Planning Coordinator, is leading the program and is optimistic about its progress to date.
“While confirmed wildlife strike occurrences are extremely low, accounting for around 0.00059 per cent of aircraft movements at Brisbane Airport, we take the risk associated with wildlife on airport seriously and continually invest in programs and research projects aimed to reduce the risk of wildlife strikes.
“The canine program complements the existing and passive management strategies already implemented at Brisbane Airport to reduce the frequency and severity of wildlife strikes.
“The real difference here is that Ozzie is a true predator, not a perceived threat like a number of our other strategies, so it eliminates the problems of habituation. It also aligns with our commitment to implementing non-lethal forms of wildlife management.”
Ozzie lives with Jackson and has built a close bond with his handler who describes him as a lover, not a fighter.
“The purpose of Ozzie on the airfield is to act as a predator and deter wildlife from the current and new airfields. He is driven by the ball, so in the process of throwing and fetching, wildlife is scared off the airfield.
“He is a bundle of energy and has determination that enables more efficient coverage of a larger area, which is crucial with the new runway becoming operational in July.”