Doggie Eco Heroes

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Sniff Sniff…Sniff Sniff… nope my sense of smell is definitely not as good as Rover the Labrador. I guess that’s just one of the things that makes dogs so special, their amazing sense of smell.

black labrador wildlife detecting
Photo Credit: Nancy Haggerty/Marin Humane Society

For years the smelling skills of dogs have been put to use by police officers and fire fighters. Dogs even help out in airports where they stop people from smuggling endangered species. Now researchers are realizing that dogs could also help us survey wildlife, one foul smell at a time!

Smells Like?

Protecting biodiversity is a BIG job; for one thing we need to understand the animals we are trying to protect. Getting information about a species’ population can be tricky, we can’t exactly ask all the animals to line up for a head count! Instead we have to use sneaky detective skills to learn about animals without interfering with them and that’s where the poop comes in.

wildlife scat tracking dog
Photo by Nancy Haggerty/Marin Humane Society

Yup looking for scat, or animal poop, helps us learn important things about the health of a species like their population numbers, what they are eating and their range. Dogs can be trained to be expert scat trackers; helping researchers to collect information about wildlife and how we can protect species at risk!

What other jobs do you think animals would be great at? Post your comment below and tell us what fluffy, furry or slimy species you would hire and for what job!

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-01/uoc–wbu011111.php

Earth Rangers is a non-profit organization that works to inspire and educate children about the environment. At EarthRangers.com kids can play games, discover amazing facts, meet animal ambassadors and fundraise to protect biodiversity.

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