Rescue dogs

This non-profit organization trains rescue dogs for conservation

Lily, a rescued lab, is trained on 12 scents, including grizzly. Conservation Working Dogs

The dog is not only man’s best friend. They are his oldest friend. DNA analysis shows that we started domesticating wolves around 11,000 years ago. And over time, humans – and especially hunters – have come to appreciate the value of working dogs and their powerful olfactory systems.

Their noses continue to prove indispensable in the modern world, and today working dogs play an important role in conservation. Because while their noses can locate dead bodies, detect narcotics, and aid in search and rescue missions, they can also protect wildlife and wild places by sniffing out invasive plants and poachers, tracking down elusive species, and helping a wide range of other conservation-related efforts.

Training dogs for such high-level work takes dedication and time, and a Montana-based nonprofit known as Working Dogs for Conservation is spearheading the effort.

“We have trained and deployed over 200 dogs, and we need dogs to travel the world for conservation,” Working Dogs for Conservation community engagement coordinator Breanne Black recently told MTN News in Billings. .

Their training center is located in rural Turah, Montana, between Missoula and Helena. Most of the dogs are rescued from various shelters around the country, and so far they have helped with everything from catching ivory poachers in Zambia to locating quagga and zebra mussels at the boat launch. the water. They can smell invasive plants before they break through the surface of the water, as well as animals that live underground and microscopic organisms invisible to the human eye.

“For years, scientists have tried to develop an instrument as sensitive as a dog’s nose,” reads the organization’s website. ” We wish them good luck. In the meantime, we’ll stay with our pack.

Aimee Hurt is one of the co-founders of Working Dogs for Conservation, and she helped research 20 years ago that proved dogs could tell the difference between black bear and grizzly bear feces. . This revelation helped bear research and made Hurt realize that there are countless other ways to use working dogs in conservation.

“It’s a really rewarding time in the conservation dog world right now,” Hurt told the local news channel.

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Hurt went on to say that dogs are now being used to detect everything from COVID-19 to endangered species like the kit fox. She noted that because the dogs are quick and thorough, they do their scent work in a short time and can cover a lot of ground in a hurry. And she explained that the organization just received a generous donation of $1 million, which will allow their dogs to support even more projects, including one on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana.

“An exciting project is underway on the Blackfeet Nation,” Hurt said. “We will be working there with Indigenous Vision to identify contaminants through mink and otter droppings. Dogs will be able to identify contaminants and then [we will] are also working on chronic wasting disease [in deer] with them.”