Dogs used to detect rare carnivores

December 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: The role of species competition in biodiversity

Related Stories

The role of species competition in biodiversity

July 7, 2015

(Phys.org)—Over long spans, biodiversity is a fluid and shifting balance of species and influences. Species diversification occurs in response to a host of complex factors, both biotic and abiotic, and understanding them ...

Study finds wolves are better hunters when monkeys are around

June 22, 2015

Through a rare mixed-species association observed between a carnivorous predator and a potential prey, Dartmouth-led research has identified that solitary Ethiopian wolves will forage for rodents among grazing gelada monkey ...

Recommended for you

New nanomaterial maintains conductivity in 3-D

September 4, 2015

An international team of scientists has developed what may be the first one-step process for making seamless carbon-based nanomaterials that possess superior thermal, electrical and mechanical properties in three dimensions.

Astronomers detect the farthest galaxy yet with Keck telescope

September 4, 2015

A team of Caltech researchers that has spent years searching for the earliest objects in the universe now reports the detection of what may be the most distant galaxy ever found. In an article published August 28, 2015 in Astrophysical ...

2 comments

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.