Dogs Help in Conservation of Endangered Species

As if we needed further proof that dogs are awesome, here’s a story about how specially trained dogs (and their sensitive noses) are helping conservationists study and protect endangered species in the wild.

According to an article on the CNN website, dogs are being trained to accompany researchers out into the field and help them identify the scents of endangered animals and their droppings.

Tracking droppings, also called scat, can tell researchers where endangered animals are living, how many of them are around, what they are eating, as well as parasite infection and overall health status.  This tracking is also much less stressful for the animals than trapping.

These conservation dogs have worked on many endangered animal studies, including ones for foxes, wolves, cougars, bobcats, otters, minks, ferrets, and more!  Some new training session are now focusing on teaching the dogs to track endangered lizards.

Interested in learning more?  Check out the website for the organization Working Dogs for Conservation.

 

How to Create an Animal Friendly Yard

Spring is just around the corner, and it’s never too early to start planning your garden, especially when you’re getting tired of winter!  This spring, make sure your gardening and landscaping plans take your local animals, birds, and insects into account.

How can you make your yard a humane haven for neighborhood wildlife?  The Humane Society of the United States has put together a practical list of tips.  Here’s how you can ensure that your backyard is safe for local wildlife.

  • Provide a source of fresh clean water, such as a birdbath.
  • Offer natural food sources like flowering native plants and bird feeders.
  • Avoid lawn products with harmful chemicals such as pesticides.

  • Build or purchase a bat house so bats can control insects and pollinate plants on your property.
  • Convert all or part of your lawn into a natural native plant habitat for local animals.
  • Place yard debris in a brush pile to create a shelter for small animals like chipmunks and toads.

  • Plant flowers that attract bees and put up specially-designed bee houses for them.
  • Make sure your swimming pool has an escape route like a ramp for wild animals that fall in.

  • Attract beneficial insects like butterflies and beetles with appropriate native plants.
  • Keep cats indoors for their own safety and the safety of local wildlife.

  • Watch out for nesting animals like rabbits and birds while mowing and pruning in the spring.
  • Use humane methods to trap and release wildlife that gets into your home.
  • Prevent deadly bird strikes by applying a few cling decals to your window panes.