At a small training facility in Missoula, Montana, rescue dogs are being trained to stop wildlife trafficking from every point.
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Dogs have seriously impressive noses, especially when it comes to catching wildlife poachers. Stationed around the world, these dogs can sniff out ammunition and guns, they can detect live animals or animal products at ports and borders, and they can even trace evidence of a poached animal back to a poacher’s camp. But now these dogs are getting an advantage thanks to some brand new technology that is just now being unveiled.
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From rescue to research: training detection dogs for conservation
“Conservation and research teams have used detection dogs to locate illegal wildlife products, weapons, invasive species, and, particularly, wildlife scat–a non-invasive way to collect dietary, hormonal, and genetic information contained in fecal material.”
Foxes and Feces: How Science Saves Species
“These dog-and-handler teams are able to find larger quantities of scat than a team of human researchers, and they are more accurate at identifying scats that were deposited by kit foxes in the field than human researchers. This is key because we can collect more information and minimize the accidental collection of scats from other species.”
Our Work | Working Dogs For Conservation
“WD4C is helping K9 teams intercept illicit wildlife products, detect guns and ammunition, track poachers, and protect at-risk animals in six countries on three continents.”
Across the globe, elephants are poached for their tusks, pangolins for their scales, and totoaba fish for their bladders. Tackling the fourth largest crime industry in the world isn’t easy, but biologists, roboticists, detectives and even NASA scientists are getting creative in the hopes of making a difference. In this Seeker series, we’ll investigate true stories of wildlife crime and meet the people who are working to protect the world’s most endangered and persecuted animals.
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