Some dogs win awards like Best In Show, but they have nothing on 2020’s TopDog of biosecurity, our yellow Labrador Ulf.

Ulf’s paw formance was awarded top biosecurity detector dog in 2020,sniffing out 400 biosecurity risk items at the airport, seaport and mailfacilities in Brisbane. Ulf has a nose any wine connoisseur would envy, as heuncovered 80 different commodities as part of those 400 detections.

47 of the detections were African swine fever (ASF) risk items. With harder-to-detect mutant variants of this devastating pig disease showing up now inAsia, our work to ensure ASF doesn’t reach our shores and make its way ontofarms is vital to protect farmers’ livelihoods.

While Ulf took top spot this year, we’re proud of all 42 of our detector dogs,as well as their trainers and handlers. This crack team of dogs and humanswork around Australia stopping exotic pests and diseases entering our countrythrough improperly or illegally imported fruit, vegetables, meat, and muchmore.

The slowdown in international arrivals over these last 12 exceptional monthsdid not mean that our dogs had an easy year. They instead primarily deployedto our international mail centres, where the Australia-wide pack screened 15.7million mail items and intercepted 13,500 risks!

Luckily, they were well prepared to respond to our collective online shoppingaddiction. They’re trained to detect over 200 different risk items, from largefood and plants to tiny seeds.

They can also detect hitchhiker pests that can hide in packaging, like brownmarmorated stink bugs. If these nasty bugs established themselves in ourcountry, they would chew through almost every food and fibre crop we grow.

While Ulf worked hard to earn the coveted Top Dog title, he enjoys a happywork-life balance, taking to pools, sprinklers and sandpits during his playtime to get nice and muddy.

Image: Ulf is Australia’s Top Dog of biosecurity, showing a real talent in2020 for sniffing out the risk items that could threaten our agriculture andenvironment.

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