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HEAD of Biosecurity of the Department of Agriculture Lyn O’Connell has announced the latest defence against pests and diseases threatening Norfolk Island.

Ms O’Connell said Suki the biosecurity Labrador transferred to Norfolk Island in early December from Sydney, and had significant experience under her collar.

“Suki has been working for the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources since 2013, and has been trained to detect over 200 biosecurity risk items,” Ms O’Connell said.

“In her five year career Suki has intercepted over 5900 risk items, and in her first week on the job she has already detected a range of fresh fruit and live plant material.

“Suki’s duties on Norfolk Island will include screening passengers, luggage, mail and cargo for anything that may pose a biosecurity risk to the island.”

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According to the department, on average, detector dogs intercept between 3000 and 3500 items in their six to eight year working life.

Seeds, live plants, fresh produce and meat are among the most common items sniffed out.

Suki’s predecessor, Dawson, has been Norfolk Island’s sole detector dog since 2015 but is now 10-years-old and is to retire to a quiet life with his former handler.

“We wish Suki the best of luck in her new role, and wish Dawson a long and comfortable retirement,” Ms O’Connell said.

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