A B.C. Conservation Officer Service dog named Kilo was responsible for stopping a boat riddled with invasive muscles from entering B.C. waters recently.
The boat has arrived from Ontario and was stopped at a watercraft inspection station in Golden when Kilo indicated to the conservation crew that something unwanted may be on board. The dog’s hunch was proven correct when crew members discovered invasive mussels clinging to the vessel.
The crew sprayed down and decontaminated the boat and ordered that it be quarantined for 30 days. They also issued the owner a $230 violation ticket for the possession and unlawful transport of a prohibited species.
The conservation service has two dogs specially trained in detecting invasive mussels. This proves useful when the shellfish manage to hide in hard-t0-find places, such as internal engine parts.
Quagga and zebra mussels are not native to North America and are classified as an invasive species. They are known to be present in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba so far. If they were to spread in B.C., the conservation service says the mussels would threaten aquatic food webs and damage water infrastructure.