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Posted on 28/09/2022 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Puppies training to keep Phillip Island fox-free 

A new generation of detection dogs have started their training on Phillip Island to ensure the island remains fox-free.
Four-and-a-half-month-old English Springer Spaniel puppy called Flash and six-month-old English Springer Spaniel Macey are training daily with Phillip Island Nature Parks Senior
Vertebrate Pest Officer and Dog Handler Craig Bester.
Once their tracking training is complete at around 12 months of age, Macey and Flash will eventually take over from veteran detection dog Jazz.
Ten-year-old Jazz recently played a key role to locating evidence of a fox on the island -the first physical evidence in seven years. The fox was later captured and humanely euthanised after a
two-month hunt. Regular monitoring continues to ensure the island remains fox-free.
Phillip Island Nature Parks Conservation Manager Jessica McKelson said detection dogs are valuable members of the team helping to locate evidence of foxes and feral cats, which can
severely impact wildlife populations and livestock, and allowing targeted control programs at key sites.
Foxes are the greatest land-based threat to penguins and Phillip Island was declared fox-free in 2017 after 25 years of extensive eradication programs by Phillip Island Nature Parks and the
local community.
Once fully trained, Macey and Flash will also be used on other projects around Victoria to help eradicate foxes.
Phillip Island Nature Parks also has Marbee and Milly who are finalising their training to become feral cat detection dogs.
Please report any suspected sightings of foxes on Phillip Island to Philip Island Nature Parks on 0419 369 365.
You can help grow the pack to support wildlife conservation on Phillip Island. To help these pups become penguin protectors, visit