Deutsche Bahn Trains Dogs to Sniff Out Protected Species

Deutsche Bahn (DB) is training dogs to detect protected species in order to speed up construction projects.

Deutsche Bahn says it will train dogs to detect protected species
Deutsche Bahn says it will train dogs to detect protected species

All planned construction sites must be searched for protected animals before work can begin. At the moment this is undertaken by humans, but from next year dogs will take their place.

This will save time for DB, as the dogs can sniff out protected species in a single mission, whereas humans have to search an area several times.

Results will be recorded by the dog handlers on to a new digital data platform.

Currently DB is training six dogs, from different breeds (Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Springer Spaniels), to detect protected creatures such as bats, sand and wall lizards, yellow-bellied toads and smooth snakes.

The dogs’ ‘apprenticeships’ involve training both indoors and out in nature, and are being closely followed by scientists from the University of Innsbruck, the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research.

Jens Bergmann, Director of Infrastructure Planning and Projects at DB Netz, said:

“The use of species detection dogs in construction projects in Germany is a novelty. With their fine sense of smell, dogs can find protected animals at any time of the year and in almost any weather. That helps us tremendously.

“We get to work faster, can implement our projects more efficiently and are thus driving the mobility transition.”

Since 2010, DB has implemented or planned more than 38,000 nature and species protection measures. Of these, species protection accounted for more than 12,000 measures to move protected special to  new, safe habitats.

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