Dogs with jobs: Our four-legged heroes

Rein's Instagram account posted this image that read: "Dad said 'duck'. I wasn't quick enough." Photo / via Instagram
Rein's Instagram account posted this image that read: "Dad said 'duck'. I wasn't quick enough." Photo / via Instagram

Kiwi dogs with jobs are taking the world by storm.

Specially trained to work with the Department of Conservation, the dogs work hard to keep New Zealand's native species safe from predators, particularly on island sanctuaries such as Tiritiri Matangi and Little Barrier.

And the canines are quickly becoming social media sensations.

A heart-warming photo of West Coast kiwi dog Rein with a duckling on its head made it into the Huffington Post.

The popular American news website ran a story on "dogs with jobs", about specialist New Zealand dogs helping the Department of Conservation.

Rein, a Hungarian vizsla, works in a number of locations, including the Okarito kiwi sanctuary, with handler and owner Iain Graham. It even has its own Instagram account filled with action shots.

The picture in the Huffington Post was taken earlier this year in the Waiho (Waiau) riverbed, near Franz Josef Glacier.

"A tourist brought the duckling in to work as it was found motherless. Usually if there's nothing obviously wrong with them we try and release them ASAP so this was taken just before releasing him with another group of ducklings," Graham told the Greymouth Star yesterday.

The Huffington Post also featured step-siblings Pai and Piri detecting rodents in and around Auckland's dock.

Pai and Piri are specially trained rodent-detectors. Photo / Facebook
Pai and Piri are specially trained rodent-detectors. Photo / Facebook

The conservation dogs programme, which was established in 1998, has more than 60 dogs taking part.


Rein keeps his focus after finding a Kiwi in need of assistance. Photo / Instagram / @gingerdogwithajob
Rein keeps his focus after finding a Kiwi in need of assistance. Photo / Instagram / @gingerdogwithajob

"We use pest detection dogs for ongoing monitoring, eradication and island biosecurity work which consists of quarantine, surveillance and incursion response," DoC said on its website.

Neo, who also part of the programe and has his own Instagram account, is trained to find whio, brown kiwi and petrel.



Rein's Instagram profile says the pooch gets paid to "Find kiwi, ride in helicopters, jet boats etc," all in the name of conservation.



If you're keen to explore and want to visit a pest-free zone, here are some handy tips from DoC:

If you find a pest

• On the mainland: Get rid of the pest and clean your gear again.

• On a commercial boat: Tell the crew what you have found and where it is.

• On your own boat or kayak: Destroy the pest - don't throw them overboard alive.

• On the island: Report sightings to the DOC conservation emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

Click here for more conservation information.

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