Timmy the scat detecting Labrador is one of three dogs helping in the fight to find Tasmania's foxes.
For the first 200 years of European settlement the island state remained free of the fox, enabling it to become a sanctuary for a whole range of wildlife no longer found on mainland Australia. A small number of foxes are now present, but finding them in the 6 million hectares of Tasmania is a bigger job than finding a needle in a haystack.
If you can't find a fox, maybe you can find what it deposits in the landscape. That's where specially trained fox-scat detecting dogs come in. They've recently taken up the job of helping to find scats, enabling Tasmanian authorities to target the eradication campaign more effectively.
Yesterday I took part in a demonstration of how effective the dogs can be. Sixteen humans lined up to search for five hidden fox scats in an area probably the size of three backyards. In 10 minutes, we found one out of five. Timmy came out and found all five in probably less than two minutes - and he seemed to enjoy himself a lot more than the humans.
It's a novel approach, but its a novel situation. There's a heck of a lot to lose if foxes take off in Tasmania, so it's worth trialling every tool in the armoury and developing a few new ones. The Tasmanian authorities are not leaving any stone unturned in trying to keep their State fox-free. Good on them.