March 4, 2020, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm | Wednesday
Program Fee: FREE event and donations to WildSmart are very much appreciated
Join Cindy Sawchuk, Aquatic Invasive Species Operations / K9 Program Lead, at WildSmart's next Speakers' Series event Sniffing Out Invasive Species: Alberta Conservation K9 Program. Hilo, K9 Detection Dog Extraordinaire will also be on hand to demonstrate his detection skills!
Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity of all time (second only to habitat loss). Alberta is one of the few jurisdictions left in North America that is free of invasive mussels and the cost of an infestation in the province is estimated to be $75 million annually. As such, the provincial government created the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program in order to keep invasive mussels at bay.
This included major legislation change, mandatory highway boat inspection stations, education and outreach campaigns, and the creation of the Alberta Conservation K9 program. The canines can detect adult and juvenile mussels on boats and along shorelines, and in a blind test were even able to detect microscopic mussels (called veligers) in water. Alberta is the first jurisdiction in Canada to employ full time detection dogs at mandatory watercraft inspection stations. The dogs are endlessly trainable and have since expanded their target odours. While their primary focus is on aquatic invasive species, they have learned to detect one invasive weed in Fish Creek Provincial Park, and are currently working on a pilot study with Agriculture and Forestry on wild pig detection.
Please note: The detection dog Hilo will be doing a live demonstration where he will be moving throughout the theatre. People with service dogs, severe dog allergies, or who have a fear of dogs, are recommended to please step out of the theatre during the short 5 minute demonstration.
This is a FREE event and donations are very much appreciated.
Special thanks goes out to our event sponsor Rotary Club of Canmore for their generous support of our Speakers' Series!