Archie has his nose in travellers’ bags
WELLINGTON airport’s newest employee has a nose for trouble.
Archie is an 18-month-old beagle who has just joined the Wellington International Airport biosecurity team with his handler Julia Edwards.
Fresh from graduating a 10-week detector dog training course in November, the pair is the second team to be based in Wellington.
They join Carlijn Bouwman and her dog Lenny who have been here for a year.
Archie is trained to detect all biosecurity risks coming through international arrivals.
Julia says he is able to detect anything from fresh meat, dried meat, fresh fruit, plant material and eggs.
A day in the job for the team starts with a walk before heading to the airport.
After arriving at the airport, they go for another walk before Archie settles in the quiet room to calm down and get used to the environment.
When the international flights get in, it’s time for Archie to go to work.
While he and Julia are still new, they do 10-minute blocks working among the passengers by the luggage carousel.
At the end of the shift Archie goes for another walk before heading back to the kennels where Julia feeds and plays with him before heading home.
Border Clearance Services manager Steve Gilbert said the addition to the Wellington brings it up to full strength before the busy summer season.
“No tool is sufficient to manage biosecurity by itself. Dogs are good at picking up seeds and plants that can be hard to detect by x-ray,” Mr Gilbert said.
“They also screen people faster than x-ray, and their visual presence is a significant factor.”
They were part of 37 new biosecurity staff to graduate as part of the Ministry of Primary Industries’ aim to bring the font-line up to full strength before peak season.
The team will be working at the airport and Wellington’s port.