Stamps Honor Dogs Who Used Noses to Save Endangered Wildlife

Macquarie Island lies in the sub-Antarctic region, about 935 miles southeast of Hobart, Tasmania. It’s the home to rare seabirds, like the wandering albatross, and elephant seals that depend on this small strip of oceanic crust for their survival.

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Over the years, introduction of non-native plants and animals threatened the existence of these creatures. Rabbits, introduced in the 1880s as food for people living there, were particularly damaging to the delicate ecosystem, destroying nesting sites for endangered birds.

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That’s when the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service called in the dogs, 11 of them, mostly Springer Spaniels and Labrador Retrievers, who specialize in sniffing out rabbits and rodents. The dogs helped clear these feral, invasive species from the island in about year. Now they are being honored with a series of stamps—The Dogs That Saved Macquarie Island— from the Australian Postal Corporation.

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“Macquarie Island would not have its rabbit- and rodent-free status without these dogs,” handler Nancy Williams told Australian Broadcasting Corporation news. “To see them on the stamps I think it’s a lovely and worthy tribute.”