Biosecurity Dogs go by eBike!
Smart businesses have started to look to ebikes as a way to get around more efficiently. Electricmeg has helped many businesses to get staff onto ebikes safely, but this story is a bit different. It involves cute dogs, so do read on…
Auckland Council is one of those smart businesses that has invested in fleet bikes and importantly, on training and assessment to get more people introduced to ebikes in a way that they are safe and find the experience enjoyable. At one of those ‘encounters’ a discussion started with Meg Page (Electricmeg) and Liz Brooks, Senior Regional Advisor for Hauraki Gulf Biosecurity about possible ways to move the dogs and handlers around the city in a more sustainable but still safe way. Detector dogs are trained to sniff out predators, in this case to get and keep Hauraki Gulf Islands predator free. In practice, this means the Sealink vehicle ferries to Waiheke and Great Barrier Island and the passenger ferries to Waiheke and other islands. Sometimes inspecting house removals and other high-risk movements.
Getting the dogs and handlers to the terminals from their domain depot can take ages by car — with a high carbon footprint — and once at the wharf parking is a problem too. In our own illustration of this we rode with handler Lois, dog Kosher, and Mayor Goff from Sealink at Wynyard Wharf and had to wait around 15mins for the camera crews to arrive in their cars.
The dogs are worth several $10’s of thousands each and like any valuable staff, are worth protecting too. They have been successful in identifying rodents, mustelids (ferrets, stoats, weasels), Argentine ants and plague skinks (Australian rainbow skinks).
An eZee Bolt suited the ‘pilot’ dog handler Lois best and a Burley Tail Wagon trailer suited the dogs. Just like your regular doggo, these dogs simply love going by bike and ride along sniffing the wind. They also fulfill a public relations role in awareness among the public, and wow, is this an effective rig for public engagement! People stare, talk and come up and ask. The dogs are super cute and really good around people. This then becomes an opportunity to talk about biosecurity and perhaps even about sustainable transport!
Now that Lois is riding around with Kosher, other handlers are also wanting to use this mode to get themselves and their canine work mates around. I’m sure it’ll set off a chain reaction of other Council- and business-transport users finding novel ways to use ebikes effectively to carry out their work. That’s good for sustainability, cost savings, beating congestion and quite simply, a more fun way to get your work done. I applaud the Council, this is an example of innovation and sheer awesomeness.