- Monday 21 July 2014
Maya, the world’s only koala poo detection dog, is already proving her worth, tracking down the cute and cuddly creatures’ presence on three Sunshine Coast Council reserves – at Tanawha, Peachester and Glenview.
The friendly three-year-old border collie was in the media spotlight earlier this month, when she showed just how clever she was at tracking down koala poo (or scats) at Ben Bennett Park, Caloundra.
Senior conservation partnerships officer Julie O’Connor said Maya’s work was a vital part of the council’s koala conservation program funded through the environment levy.
“We are really pleased to have found proof that koalas are still in those three reserves,” Julie said.
“Knowing where our koalas are on the Sunshine Coast is essential if we are to identify area-specific threats and impacts and develop the conservation measures to save the koalas.
“Maya will have a huge impact on our survey work and will provide the data we need to protect our koalas in the long-term.
“And thanks to Maya, our survey work will contribute to a growing body of data being used to draft Koala Conservation Plan which will be going out for community consultation in October.”
Julie reminded dog owners to keep their pets restrained if they came across the border collie while she was at work.
Maya wears an OWAD branded jacket and is accompanied by handlers.
“She is such a timid dog and her instinct would be to run if dogs approached her, especially if they ran at her,” Julie said.
“Unless otherwise indicated, dogs should be restrained at all times when not at home.
“This is for the safety of all dogs, wildlife and people.”
By the time she is finished, Maya would have nosed her way through 55 council reserves, Land for Wildlife and volunteer conservation agreement properties.
Julie said Maya had an incredibly high drive for a tennis ball, her reward when she found a scat, and could run through the reserves and not be of danger to any animal.
Maya was abandoned at the RSPCA and was specifically trained for this detection work at the age of 12 months.
“I think it’s ironic that Maya was saved by the RSPCA and is now returning the favour, saving the lives of koalas,” Julie said.