Plant’s Best Friend: Dogs May Help Save Endangered Species

People love dogs for all sorts of reasons. Here’s another one: dogs can be trained to sniff out endangered plants, which can help save endangered species and habitat.

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.

~ Marsha

(Thanks to Planetsave for the heads up.)

Photo of Rogue © Jen Newlin Bell/TNC