Keeping things safe and operations running smoothly at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is no small task, but for the newest member of YVR’s wildlife team, it’s all in a day’s work.
This week, YVR introduced the newest (soon-to-be) member of its wildlife team: Echo the Hungarian Mudi.
Arriving from Finland, Echo is currently in training until the end of Summer 2020.
According to YVR’s communications department, Echo was selected because her breed is “known for their strong herding instincts and calm demeanour.”
In finding and selecting potential pooches for the program, “YVR’s Wildlife team partners with an external dog trainer who selects the dogs and trains them for over a year before they come work for us,” a department spokesperson told Daily Hive.
Currently, Echo is in the process of learning commands that will help keep her safe while working on the airfield.
“Once her training is complete, Echo will join Pilot, another dog, and work with their handlers from Avisure Services to find bird hazards and safely chase them off the airport environment,” the spokesperson added.
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So why have the dogs like Echo and Pilot out there in the first place?
“YVR is located on a migratory birth path and it’s our responsibility to ensure safe airport operations while conserving wildlife,” the spokesperson explained. “Our YVR dogs are part of our wildlife management program and we have a variety of initiatives and tactics in place.”
In addition to the dogs, YVR has a team of trained raptors as part of its Falconry Program, which also helps discourage hazardous shorebirds, ducks, geese, and herons from remaining on the airfield.
The Airport Authority’s wildlife control team works around the clock. They have 16 trained wildlife biologists and nine vehicles to control and manage wildlife at the airport.
Last year, as a result of the Wildlife Management Program, YVR moved 956,690 animals from the runways, taxiways and aprons in 2018. In addition, 241 raptors were removed from the airfield and 238 of them were successfully relocated away from YVR.