The Nature Conservancy of Oregon recently posted about an experiment, in which dogs are being trained to use their keen noses to track down the threatened Kincaid’s lupine, which is a plant loved by the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly.
The Nature Conservancy teamed up with a couple of other organizations to see just how effective dogs could be at finding target plant species.
They discovered that, not only are the dogs extremely accurate (making only 6 errors in 364 plots), but that dogs can cover the terrain more quickly and easily, and can sniff out plants for a longer part of the year.
The team is looking at how else dogs might be able to help, such as finding other native or invasive species.
While such a project doesn’t take into account the issue of whether or not using dogs in such circumstances is exploitative or oppressive (personally, I don’t know; it’s a complex issue), it’s yet another reason to love and appreciate animals and respect their abilities.
(Thanks to Planetsave for the heads up.)
Photo of Rogue © Jen Newlin Bell/TNC