1 Tahrcountry Musings: Dogs help in conserving endangered animals

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dogs help in conserving endangered animals

Dogs have always been man’s best friends from time immemorial. They have been used in hunting. But now they are chipping in with help in wildlife conservation

Dogs trained to detect animal faeces by scent are helping researchers monitor rare and threatened wildlife in and around Emas National Park, in Brazil. When the dogs find the faeces, the accompanying researcher marks the location with a GPS and collects the samples. With the aid of satellite images, the sample data are correlated to the local environments where the samples were found. This helps the researchers to identify numbers, range, diet, hormonal stress, parasites and genetic identity without resorting to any sophisticated equipments. Identifying and establishing key areas for corridors has been made easier. The levels of stress hormones in the animals' faeces are important indicators in the evaluation of their capacity to reproduce in a given environment. Carly Vynne of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington leads the project.

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