Tig and Opal Sniff for Snails

Tig sniffs for snails
Tig at work

The port is no stranger to animal activity on port grounds. In the 1980s, cattle were shipped to New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, and other countries in need of milk-producing livestock.

The most recent four-legged friends to visit the port were Tig, a two-year-old male yellow lab, and Opal, a two-year-old female black lab. Both dogs came to the port with representatives from the United States Department of Agriculture to sniff out snails. This is an annual visit conducted to look for exotic snails that may arrive on cargo and could potentially harm crops. The team visited Berth 4, Parcel 1A wetland, and the stormwater swales near Berth 13.  Fortunately, they did not locate any snails of concern; only native and aquatic species.

These two dogs and their handlers have participated in mollusk detection surveys in 13 states over the last two years.

Tig and Opal are shelter rescues from Georgia and they and other dogs like them travel the country with USDA handlers, searching for invasive snail species. This was Tig’s first working trip, and he and Opal enjoyed receiving treats each time they located a live snail during their visit to the port.

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