Did you know that there are dogs working to specifically save wildlife? They’ve been helping conservation sites in over two decades now, and a new study is taking a detailed glimpse into their jobs.
Despite their strong sense of smell, detection dogs that have been trained to keep track of other animal’s scents in conservation sites still make mistakes. The errors happen four to 45 percent of the time, where the dogs end up locating the wrong targets.
Usually, dog handlers attribute the mistakes to errors during the canine training. But this new study from Washington University confirmed that there might be three potential variables beyond the common perceptions.
“While the reasons underlying coprophagy in domestic dogs are still fuzzy, it is known in wild canids that coprophagy is natural and is often associated with territoriality or nutritional benefits. So while the finding that coyotes will consume puma scat is novel and has various ecological implications, coprophagy occurs naturally under a variety of circumstances.”
How Detection Dogs Work in Conservation Sites
Detection dogs use their sense of smell, and not their sense of sight, to find specific targets, such as scat or droppings, that indicate whether there are other animals in the areas. Conservation sites use the detection dogs in place of other alternative means, such as a camera photo trap and other invasive equipment, to identify the presence of endangered animals.
The dogs are deemed effective because they can smell animal poop that has been fragmented on the ground, or hidden behind bushes, or rained on, or eaten by…