Dogs used to detect rare carnivores

Dec 17, 2007

U.S. Forest Service scientists at the Pacific Southwest Research Station are using dogs to detect the presence of rare California carnivores.

Service researchers and scientists from the University of Vermont have found dogs that can detect the presence of specific scat -- animal excrement -- might be the best way to confirm the presence of rare carnivores in forested areas such as the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Land managers often have difficulty detecting forest carnivores because they tend to be elusive, solitary and on the go. Common methods for confirming a species at a site include using remotely triggered cameras and barbed wire snares that snag hair. But scientists have found detection dogs are 3 1/2 times more successful at detecting species than cameras, the second best method.

"Right now, dogs bring the most bang for the buck, compared to passive survey methods like snares and cameras," said Bill Zielinski, a Redwood Sciences Laboratory research ecologist and one of the study's authors.

Zielinski said he hoped scat detection dogs might be trained to find many rare carnivores in a given area since carnivores are a barometer of ecosystem health.

The study appeared in Journal of Wildlife Management.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Gigantic whales have stretchy 'bungee cord' nerves

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Student dig uncovers hundreds of rare moa bones

5 minutes ago

Māori Studies staff and students from Victoria University of Wellington have excavated hundreds of moa bones from a central North Island site where few moa remains were known to exist.

How does a mobile DNA sequence find its target?

35 minutes ago

To understand how transposable elements shape genomes, where they are maintained over generations, it is vital to discover the mechanisms behind their targeted integration. Researchers from the Laboratoire ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BigTone
2.5 / 5 (2) Dec 17, 2007
The finest minds in science must be working in animal conservation and wildlife management. They actually came up with the idea to use dogs to find the scent of other animals... then they needed to test that system, of course, to find out that it works...

deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2007
What rare carnivores? Wolves, Puma, shrews, weasels, large primates??????

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.