My main work is as a conservation detection dog handler, working with Goldwind Australia, conducting monthly bird and bat mortality monitoring at their Cattle Hill Wind Farm in the Tasmanian Central Highlands.
My dog Zorro and I also work for the Difficult Bird Research Group, from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society, looking for Tasmanian masked owl pellets across a range of environments and land tenures.
Working with another detection dog, I’ve also undertaken detection dog work looking for invasive plant species for Tasmania’s NRM South and the City of Hobart.
Tasmanian Masked Owl (Pellets)
I’m a detection dog handler, researcher, and field ecologist, working primarily with my dog, Zorro, to conduct bird and bat mortality monitoring at Cattle Hill Wind Farm, and seeking to identify Tasmanian masked owl habitat.
I have a Bachelor of Science with Honours from UTAS, and almost twenty years experience working in the Tasmanian environment, conducting flora and fauna habitat assessments, and providing advice to landholders on ecological and invasive species management. I have a particular interest in invasive plants (weeds), and have many years experience in project managing invasive species management projects at local and state government levels.
Since 2020, I have been working with my dog, Zorro, at Cattle Hill Wind Farm in highland Tasmania, conducting monthly bird and bat mortality monitoring for Goldwind Australia.
In 2019, I started my Masters by Research with the Fenner School of Environment and Society’s Difficult Birds Research Group at ANU, in collaboration with the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Detection Dogs for Conservation Lab. Zorro and I work with Dr. Dejan Stojanovic and PhD candidate Adam Cisterne, looking at the potential for using conservation dogs to identify Tasmanian masked owl habitat by finding masked owl pellets (castings).
I also occasionally work with Melanie Kelly and her dog, Fonzie, looking for invasive plants (serrated tussock and orange hawkweed).
Zorro is a border-collie/springer spaniel, who’s trained to find Tasmanian masked owl pellets (castings) since he was nine weeks old.
Zorro and I work with the Australian National University’s Difficult Birds Research Group, and have been trained by and in consultation with the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Detection Dogs for Conservation Program.
Zorro passed his field trials with flying colours in early 2020, and is now working with the Difficult Birds Research Group to conduct masked owl pellet surveys in Tasmanian forests. Zorro is a toy enthusiast, and will do almost anything for a squeaky ball.
Zorro expanded his scent repertoire in 2020, and is now also trained to detect bird and bat carcasses, assisting the Cattle Hill Wind Farm to meet their ecological monitoring requirements.
Gromit is our new recruit. A bright young border collie pup from working dog lines, Gromit is currently being imprinted on masked owl pellets, and will in time go on to work with Zorro doing bird and bat mortality monitoring. Gromit’s hobbies include finding smelly things to roll in, eating cabbage and cauliflower leaves, and stealing toys from Zorro.