In the News: How Conservation Dogs Help Track Endangered Species

Nov 14, 2019 by

Labrador Retrievers

Dogs have been putting their keen sense of smell to good use for hundreds of years. Tracking, hunting, and search and rescue are just a few of the important jobs that dogs can take on because of their powerful olfactory systems. 

Now, dogs are being tasked with another important role: Endangered species trackers.

Following the Scent of Endangered Species

Scientists who study endangered species often face a big problem: Because the animals they’re studying are endangered, it can be hard to find them!

Enter: Conservation dogs. 

Conservation dogs are trained by organizations such as Working Dogs for Conservation. The way these dogs are trained generally comes down to what the scientist trackers want to find out about the endangered species they are studying.

For example, in some cases a conservation dog may only be trained to track the droppings of a certain animal. These droppings are called scat, and they are often difficult for scientists to discover themselves as they may appear in extremely small quantities and blend into the environment.

When the dog finds the animals’ scat, they will usually be trained to lay down next to it, and the trackers and scientists will arrive to take samples. Alternatively, some conservation dogs are trained to find the animals themselves. 

Does Your Life Have a Dog-Shaped Hole in It?

The amazing powers of dogs cannot be overstated. From their ability to track and hunt, to their kind and nurturing devotion and now, to their skill at sniffing out endangered species, dogs are one of the most intelligent animal species on planet earth and a great friend to mankind.  If you’ve been considering welcoming a pet into your life, a dog is an excellent choice. Feel free to talk to our veterinarians about choosing the right breed for your home and lifestyle. And when you’re ready, book your new dog’s first appointment right here at Sunset Veterinary Clinic — just call (405) 844-2888.

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