Belgian Shepherd dog sniffs out S.Africa's rare tortoise

Mar 10, 2014
South African conservationists announced that they have enlisted the help of a Belgian Shepherd dog to help track the country's most endangered land-based tortoise.

South African conservationists on Monday announced that they have enlisted the help of a Belgian Shepherd dog to help track the country's most endangered land-based tortoise.

Two-year-old Brin is the first dog to help with animal tracking and in South Africa, said Justin Lawrence of the group CapeNature.

After six months of training the dog started working full time late last year, tracking down and detecting the geometric .

Brin's work helps with monitoring, and in search and rescue operations. It is estimated that there are only a few hundred such tortoises left in the wild.

"This is very new in South Africa," said Lawrence. It is the "first live target conservation detection work of its kind ever done in South Africa".

The geometric tortoise, which sports a bright yellow and black shell, is found only in the low-lying shrublands of South Africa's Western Cape province.

It faces threats from wheat and wine farming, as well as urban development that have eaten into more than 90 percent of its remaining habitat.

It is now the third most endangered land tortoise in the world, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and is among the top 25 most endangered tortoises and freshwater turtles species in the world.

Explore further: Almost 500 protected turtles found in Thai airport bags

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Almost 500 protected turtles found in Thai airport bags

Nov 07, 2013

Thai customs have found over a thousand turtles and tortoises in airport luggage in a week, including a haul of 470 creatures Friday as conservationists warn of "skyrocketing" smuggling for the pet trade.

Expo shows illegal pet trade rampant in Indonesia

Jul 30, 2010

(AP) -- The most threatened tortoise in the world is being sold openly at a plant and animal exposition in the heart of Indonesia's capital, highlighting concerns about the rampant - and growing - illegal ...

Tortoise trafficking raging out of control in Madagascar

May 03, 2013

Illegal trafficking of two critically endangered tortoise species from Madagascar has reached epidemic proportions, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Turtle Survival Alliance, ...

Scientist helps kids—through turtles—connect with nature

Nov 22, 2013

A natural with kids, Stephen Blake asks a group of teens to pretend to be foraging giant tortoises, ambulating on all fours at a tortoise's pace (about 0.2 mph) and searching for food in plastic cups laid out in roughly the ...

Recommended for you

Himalayan Viagra fuels caterpillar fungus gold rush

11 hours ago

Overwhelmed by speculators trying to cash-in on a prized medicinal fungus known as Himalayan Viagra, two isolated Tibetan communities have managed to do at the local level what world leaders often fail to ...

User comments : 0

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.