Newts

Water firm gets dog to sniff out newts

Wessex Water has a new member of staff - she's a springer spaniel called Freya and she's been taught to lie down when she sniffs out a great crested newt.

The newts are protected under UK and European laws so it's an offence to damage or destroy their habitat without a licence.

Using four newts under licence from Natural England, the dog's finely tuned nose has been trained to spot the newts hidden in plastic pots in long grass.

Ecologist Nikki Glover, who owns and trained Freya, said if the company works within 820ft of a newt breeding pond it has to apply for a licence from Natural England.

"We would then be required to fence off the construction area and carry out pitfall trapping [buckets sunk into the ground], which could take around 30 days to complete," she said.

Having a newt-detection dog means the newts can be found more efficiently and effectively.

Reporter Ali Vowles caught up with Nikki and Freya on a training day

Dog trained by Wessex Water to sniff out newts

A dog has been trained up and employed by a utility company to sniff out newts.