In an initiative that has never been done at any other airport in the world
before, Africa’s hub airport, O.R. Tambo International, has successfully
introduced and implemented a new breed of dog to its Bird Strike Avoidance
Border Collies have been used at O.R. Tambo International
Airport for the past 10 years but now for the first time ever, ACSA has
successfully implemented the use of a Springer Spaniel as part of its bird
scaring approach and it has already proved most effective.
After intensive training ‘Chase’ started working at the airport at the
beginning of this year and a second Springer Spaniel, Griffon, is currently in
training and will join the team in 2013. It is expected that the Springer
Spaniels will add value to the effective wildlife management strategy, which has
assisted in preventing collisions between aircrafts and birds.
Our Wildlife and Fire & Rescue officers have been hard at work getting
Chase to work well with our Border Collies, Tina and Scot. The initial training
with Chase was done on a farm in a secure environment with a highly qualified
trainer and his new handler before he started at the airport at the age of 15
So why the change from one breed to another?
Border Collies and Springer Spaniels add value to the Bird Scaring Programme.
Certain attributes from each breed, utilised in combination, result in greater
Border Collies are extremely energetic, acrobatic and
athletic and are perceived by birds as natural predators. As a result, birds
soon learn that the runway area is frequented and patrolled by the dogs and so
keep away from those areas.
Springer Spaniels’ attributes include a
willingness to work, retrieval of bird carcasses from the runway and a keenness
to flush in tall grass where Helmeted Guineafowls seek cover.
confident that the combination of the two breeds will increase the effectiveness
of the programme. This not only allows aircrafts to land and take off safely but
also decreases collisions that are fatal to the birds.