Conservation Dog Invite to BIO 3 Biodiversity Conference Portugal 2011
Conservation Dogs were kindly invited to attend the Wind and Biodiversity seminar held at Aivero
University in Portugal November 2011.
Bio3 directors Miguel and Hugo visited Conservation Dogs earlier in the year to observe Twister the bat carcass detection dog, for use around wind farms. It was Bio3 who inspired Conservation Dogs as at a UKLEADS Seminar a few years ago Director Louise Wilson met them and learnt about BIO3 own bat dog and handler training.
BIO3's operational dog teams have been practically used in several surveys around wind farms in Portugal. Miguel and Hugo asked us to attend to see their bat dogs in action.
The seminar attracted a varied crowd, from ecologists and conservationists, to companies providing the latest in radar technology, all eager to discuss the effects wind farms have on wildlife, mainly bats and birds. We were told about specific surveys that had been carried out on mortality rates in bats, and what can be done to try and reduce the fatalities.
One of the most important points raised at the seminar was that bats die dependent on the air pressure around the turbines, causing an affect called barotrauma. Wind turbines have to turn at a certain speed to produce energy that enters the grid. This is called the 'cut-in' speed. The turbines can still move under lower wind speeds, but produce no energy. Studies in America have found that if the cut-in speed is increased slightly, and the turbines do not move until they reach their cut-in speed, then bat fatalities are significantly reduced.
Also, a pioneering wind farm in Canada with high bird and bat mortality rates is using radar to detect large groups of the animals approaching the farm. When the radar detects them; it automatically shuts down the turbines to prevent deaths, then starts them back up again once the animals have gone.
Biology Dog Working
The bat detection dog demo was held around a small wind turbine on the university grounds. A bat carcass was placed in the grass, and the dog was left to free search for it. Once she detected the carcass she barked to alert the handler. The demo was a great example of how quickly dogs can canvas an area compared to human surveying techniques.
Louise meeting the Bio3 Biology Dog.
People we spoke to after the seminar were very impressed, as they had no idea that dogs could be used for conservation. They had lots of questions for us on the work we do in the UK with our dogs and hopefully we have persuaded some companies to use dog in the future.
Over-all the seminar was very interesting, showing the plight of animals around wind farms and the impact they are having on biodiversity. The world needs renewable energy sources, but not when it has a negative impact on wildlife. Conservation dogs were extremely pleased to have been invited, and were proud to be flying the flag for detection dogs!
Author -Aran Clyne
Aran with his own Rescue Dog Lady.
Aran Clyne has been working for Wagtail UK LTD/Conservation Dogs since March 2011.
He has a 2:1 honours degree in Animal Sciences and Management from the
Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, and the University of WalesBangor.
He has 5 years experience with animal rescues and kennel establishments as well as great in depth knowledge in Animal Welfare and Care.
He is our Kennel Supervisor as well as one of our many Training Assistant and he is a great asset to wagtail not only for his knowledge but his enthusiasm.