Sheep dogs help prevent beach bacteria

A report has revealed that Border Collies could be an effective method of preventing a common seaside bacteria.

The sheep dogs who are prized by farmers for their ability to work hard, have been put to the test by researchers along the shoreline of Lake Michigan in the US. Researchers found that the dogs were able to successfully deter seagulls along the beach – a significant finding as gulls are commonly recognised to be a leading source of E.coli bacteria.

E.coli can lead to abdominal cramping and diarrhoea in humans, high levels of the bacteria is currently causing beach closures in various parts of the world including the UK.

Researchers allocated the dogs to 200 metre stretches of the Lake Michigan shoreline throughout the summer, where populations of Ring-Bulled seagulls have escalated at a rate of 10 per cent per year since 1970.

Over the summers of 2012 and 2013, the researchers recorded the number of birds at each stretch of beach and collected water and sand samples which were tested for E.coli. It was discovered that the bacteria was substantially lower along stretches where the dogs had kept seagulls away.

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