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Nature’s most magnificent scenting instrument -- the canine nose -- is at the center of an exciting success story: the cooperation between dogs and humans for wildlife science and conservation. Working Dogs for Conservation Foundation (WDCF) brings together the needs of field biologists and the noses of shelter dogs, providing special scent-recognition training for dogs with “the right stuff” for becoming detection dogs.

The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust is proud to continue its support of WDCF’s pioneering work, which enables biologists to more efficiently conduct non-invasive research on wildlife -- an invaluable ability when evaluating habitat. As it turns out, high energy and an intense need to engage in play or pursuit -- traits that may make for a challenging companion animal -- are ideal traits for the task of quickly finding target species or their sign (such as scat) in rugged terrain.

Scat Tracker from jess hann on Vimeo.

WDCF’s training provides the focused activity and interaction these dogs crave. The dogs then work their magic in the field, helping biologists collect data about species present in a particular location in a fraction of the time that methods such as trapping and photography take.

Pedigree is less important than personality. Dogs who get to wear the bright orange “Search Dog” vest must have an ability to adapt to new environments and distractions and a willingness to work intimately with trainers. As dogs with the spirit and physical spunk for fieldwork are those less likely to be adopted, the opportunity this program provides for selected rescue dogs is truly a lifesaving one, and one that gives these energetic dogs a rewarding outdoorsy life.

WDCF will help HSWLT conduct scientific investigations of keystone species on sanctuaries, beginning this summer with grizzly bears, wolverines, and wolves on the 240-acre Demetriades Wildlife Sanctuary in Centennial Valley, Montana. Their timesaving contributions to science and conservation highlight something we also deem worthy of celebrating -- the infinite potential of the bond between humans and dogs.

This important and fascinating work was highlighted in National Geographic.

In order to expand the scope of HSWLT’s influence and effectiveness for the benefit of wildlife, we frequently share funds, expertise and HSWLT’s humane philosophy with other organizations.  All HSWLT shared efforts are rooted in our commitment to providing wildlife with safe places to live, forever, by assisting other organizations that share our concerns for wildlife and habitat.

 

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