Source: Express (Extract)
Posted: August 9, 2021

A DOG who has been trained to detect newts for a utility company building a new sewer pipeline is the only canine in the UK to carry out this task.

Freya, a Springer Spaniel, has been trained to spot the nocturnal amphibians for Wessex Water, has is creating a new pip just north of Chippenham, Wilthshire. As reported on TeamDogs, the pooch has been helping the company sniff out great crested newts just 250m from Sutton Benger Water Recycling Centre, which is a protected species.

According to the UK and European legislation, it is an offence to damage or destroy their environment without a licence from Natural England.

With Freya’s help, the rare newts population and their natural habitat will be protected from the 3.5km sewer that will run near junction 17 of the M4.

Freya’s dog owner and trainer, ecologist Nikki Glover, said: “At this time of year, great crested newts emerge from the ponds and go underground or seek refuge in the grassland. Freya’s job is to help us locate them so they can be moved out of harm’s way.

“When Freya detects a great crested newt, she lies down displaying a non-invasive indication to show me where to find it. I can then uncover the newts and move them into a receptor site, away from the construction area.

“Freya loves her job and it’s really important for environmental checks like this to be carried out to ensure no harm comes to protected species and habitats.”

To ensure the enviroment is protected as best as possible, other other ecological and archaeological surveys have also been carried out to ensure the £2.8 million scheme is a sucess.

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