Support our Nation today - please donate here

Meet Jinx, the biosecurity dog on a mission to protect Wales’ seabirds

08 Feb 2023 3 minute read
Jinx is on a special mission for Wales

Jinx the biosecurity dog has been tasked with a special mission to help protect Wales’ seabirds.

The three-year-old cocker spaniel is the UK’s first conservation detection dog and has been trained by RSPB for the last two years to sniff out rats.

When left undisturbed, invasive species can cause devastation to already threatened seabird species, that’s why Jinx’ job is so important.

A single pregnant rat can produce a colony of over 300 in just eight months. Rats are expert hunters and would quickly eat eggs, chicks and even adult birds.

Welsh Government has provided £250,000 as part of the new project which includes the help of Jinx and hopes to expand biosecurity for Wales.

Jinx has been specially trained to sniff out rats

Red list

Wales’ coastline is globally important for breeding seabirds with more than half of the world’s manx shearwater nesting underground in burrows on islands that dot our shores.

A recent Birds of Conservation Concern in Wales report highlighted how vital it is to protect Puffins, Kittiwakes, Black-headed Gulls, and Common, Arctic and Sandwich Terns.

Though the iconic puffin has achieved a population boom in Wales in recent years their unstable numbers put them on the IUCN Red List.

Climate change, invasive species, unsustainable fisheries, marine development and pandemics – such as the recent Avian Flu which killed more than 5000 gannets on Grassholm Island last year- all threaten the survival of these birds.

Jinx and his owner Greg meet Minister for Climate Change Julie James.


Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “I was delighted to meet Jinx today who I have no doubt will deliver the mission we have tasked him with – to protect Wales’ seabirds from rats and other mammalian predators.

“Thanks to the intense training he completed with his expert handler, Greg, we are confident that the biosecurity on our islands will be greatly improved under his service.

“We can help Jinx do his job properly by being vigilant to critters on our clothes, invasive species in our rucksacks or mammalian hunters who hitchhike a lift when we visit these islands.

The minister urged members of the public to report anything suspicious immediately.

Senior Marine Policy Officer, RSPB Cymru, Emily Williams said: “Biosecurity is a vital element of seabird conservation, at a time when seabirds need our help more than ever.

“Coupled with the developing Welsh seabird conservation strategy and marine environmental planning, we can turn the tide for seabirds in Wales.”

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.