Super sleuth Ulf shows why he’s top dog

The Hon David Littleproud MP
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management
  • In 2020 the detector dog fleet intercepted approximately 13,500 risk items nationally and screened 15,706,488 million mail items
  • Detector dog Ulf, the winner of top dog for 2020 had made 400 detections, 27 of which were African swine fever (ASF) risk detections, and 27 which resulted in infringements.
  • In response to the changed risk due to COVID-19 and less international flights, dogs were redeployed to primarily screen the mail pathway in 2020.
  • In 2020 the biosecurity detector dog fleet intercepted approximately 13,500 risk items and screened 15,706,488 million mail items nationally but only one dog could be crowned Top Dog of 2020.

    Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said any one of those items could have threatened Australia’s $61 billion agricultural industries, the environment and community health.

    “Detector dogs are a vital part of Australia’s defence against damaging biosecurity threats,” Minister Littleproud said.

    “With detector dogs redeployed to primarily screen the mail pathway in 2020, biosecurity risks at ports without a dog continued to be effectively managed through alternative screening methods.

    “Top dog Ulf worked at Brisbane airport, Brisbane mail facilities and Port of Brisbane and detected over 80 different commodities last year.

    “Ulf made over 400 detections, 27 of which were ASF risk detections and 27 which resulted in infringements.

    “The most common items found by the detector dogs in 2020 included seeds and nuts, fruit and meat.

    “Some unusual finds included concealed seeds that were taped to the inside of a booklet, brown marmorated stink bugs on an imported forklift and cactus seeds mis-declared as window decorations.

    “The detector dogs also detected meat products which could carry a range of exotic diseases including foot and mouth disease, a highly contagious virus disease of animals and one of the most serious livestock diseases.

    “There are currently 42 biosecurity detector dogs working across our international airports, mail facilities and wharves to screen incoming passengers and goods for potential biosecurity risks, including those that carry exotic pests and diseases.

    “Dogs are man’s best friend and detector dogs are agriculture’s best friend, protecting our valuable industries from foreign pests.”

    Fast Facts:

    Ulf’s information:

    • Male Yellow Labrador
    • DOB: 7/10/2014
    • Graduated: 10/06/2016
    • Transferred SYD to BNE 23/10/2019

    2020 Stats:

    • 400 detections
    • 80 different commodities detected
    • 27 infringements
    • 47 ASF risk detections
    • Most detected commodities: fruit (157 detections), meat and meat products (99 detections), vegetables (37 detections).
    • Worked at Brisbane airport, Brisbane mail facilities and Port of Brisbane

    Fun Facts:

    • Ulf is an extremely robust detector dog. He loves to go to work and is not phased by screaming kids, changing environments or load noises. He gets bored on his days off. He will look longingly for anyone to take him to work.
    • He loves water and will play in the pool and sprinklers. Unfortunately, he also loves digging and rolling in the sandpit immediately after which makes him very hard to keep clean.
    • Once Ulf masters something he is extremely reliable. It’s hard to think of his best detections because he is more of an allrounder that will find a wide range of items in varying quantities, strength of odour and locations. Such items included seed pods in agricultural machinery, live potted plants, small pieces of plant material in people’s pockets, concealed seeds in clothes lining and of course he loves finding meat.

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