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Sniffer dogs return to the museum

6 August 2010 by Sam

woman in uniform with a dog

A sniffer dog and handler at the museum

The sniffer dogs from UK Border Agency are once again demonstrating their unique sniffing skills at Seized! over the summer holidays. If you’d like to see them they will be at the museum every Thursday afternoon during August – full details are on the website in the Seized! events programme.
I know that the sniffer dogs are extremely well trained but I hadn’t realised before that each one specialises in searching for specific things. Karen Bradbury, curator of the UK Border Agency National Museum explains:

“This week (5 August 2010) Kass, a German Pointer Labrador Cross, was here with his handler. He finds products of animal origin – meat, fish and endangered species.

An example of an unusual case was earlier this year in 2010 when the dog unit found a birds nest in the luggage of a couple travelling from China. They were arriving into Manchester Airport.

Bird’s nest soup is a Chinese delicacy. Savoury swallow nest soup has been made for over 400 years, containing real birds nests. However there are two types of swallow – a red and white – both of which are endangered and protected under the international convention called CITES. The red variety is rarer, and it can cost up to £2000 – £3000 to buy a single nest constructed using the spit of this endangered bird. A trader captures the bird and collects its spit, which was then used to knit the nest together.

The sniffer dogs are back on Thursdays in August 2010. On 12 August it’s Roddie with his handler. Roddie is an English Springer Spaniel who searches for drugs and cash. More details about when the dogs are at the museum is on the Seized! website. Come and hear more fascinating stories from the lives of the dog team.”

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