The provinces of Alberta and Manitoba are taking a “paws-on” approach to keep invasive species from entering their waterways.
Alberta has famously prevented rats from penetrating its borders and is now taking aim at invasive water species with the help of sniffer dogs at inspection stations.
Over last month’s long weekend, the province’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development officers inspected 269 watercraft destined for Alberta’s waterways.
Their inspections turned up seven boats that were deemed “high-risk” for contamination. They were either purchased or used in known contaminated provinces or states or displayed evidence of interaction with invasive species.
Measures were taken to decontaminate those boats.
Meanwhile, invasive zebra mussels have already shown up in some of Manitoba’s waterways and the government is taking action to prevent the spread there, too.
Along with their “Don’t Move a Mussel” public awareness campaign, the province has also employed sniffer dogs to help detect invasive species at inspection stations.
Two German Shepherds have been trained to sniff out mussels. Instead of scratching or pawing at the boats, the dogs have been taught to sit as soon as they find something.