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Max and Gus join the Trust

TWO GERMAN Shorthaired Pointers are among some of the first dogs to try out a new global positioning system (GPS), which are being used to help monitor one of Scotland's rarest birds.
Wildlife Ranger Ally Macaskill is using Max and Gus to help him track rare birds, such as black grouse, at Perthshire's Schiehallion estate. The dogs wear GPS collars as they track the birds. Their precise location is then relayed to a handset carried by Mr Macaskill on the estate. It is also being used to track breeds such as Hen Harriers and Ptarmigan.

The John Muir Trust, who oversees the estate, has employed Max and Gus to monitor bird breeds in the area.

Max and Gus monitor the grouse by sniffing them out and standing on point for long enough for the ranger to get up next to them. Man and dog then gradually work alongside each other until the bird is flushed out of the heather, allowing Mr Macaskill to identify the species.

Mr Macaskill said: ‘I've been very impressed with these GPS collars, which I saw used during trips to Scandinavia. They indicate whether the dogs are on the move or on point. When they get on point the collars mean I can get there quickly, with more chance of seeing what the dogs have found.’

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