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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 November 2007, 17:01 GMT
Sniffer dogs smell something new
A sniffer dog, London, 2005
The dogs are normally used to sniff out drugs and explosives
Government sniffer dogs in South Korea have been taught a new trick - seeking out termites.

Officials in the country are worried that the insects are destroying South Korea's many wooden heritage sites.

Around 20% of the country's 2,600 historic wooden buildings could be infested with termites, according to the Yonhap news agency.

By training dogs to locate the pests, officials can save time and money previously spent on laying traps.

The dogs' new skill was unveiled on South Korean television on Wednesday.

Two English Springer Spaniels were shown sniffing for termites at the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul.

The dogs quickly identified two wooden pillars which had become overrun with the hungry insects.

In the past, pest controllers had been obliged to set traps, a process that took three-to-six months to get results.

"The dogs will greatly reduce the time and cost of detecting termites," said government official Kim Byung-Gi.

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