How dogs help in finding Endangered Species - :: PremiumsTech ::

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2017-12-04

How dogs help in finding Endangered Species



Australian Scientists have found out a way to identify elusive and endangered Species by using practically a dog to find evidence of Tiger Quoll.

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According to a PhD candidate at Monash University, Emma Bennett,
Tiger Quolls were only rediscovered in 2012 in the Great Otway National Park as they're camera shy, and have a home range of about 500 hectares, so opportunistic sightings are rare  for humans, at least.

You can analyze the DNA in the scats and look at sex, diet, and distribution. The trained dogs can provide a non-invasive alternative to trapping for some animals, which reduces stress and the risk of injuries.

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Prior to this period, Emma Bennett was evaluating the effectiveness of a volunteer dog handling program in the Great Otway National Park, Victoria, as part of her PhD.

The Dogs were trained in different stages and one was distinguishing the Scats that the Volunteers planted and another stage was the detection in various types of vegetation, before the finding undiscovered Quoll scats for real.

The first stage of the study involved six dogs identifying the scent of quoll scats among nine different scats in a 25-square-metre plot of land. All the dogs were very fast, with 50 to 70 per cent accuracy in finding quoll scats. Four out of six teams showed 100 per cent reliability in finding quoll scats.

What I'm really excited about with this program is to demonstrate that volunteers who are passionate about the environment can actually train their dogs on a particular scent, and go out as a group of citizens in science and collect additional data for scientists that would be hard to come by otherwise.

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Bennett also said that the study will hopefully increase the popularity of the role volunteer dog handling programs play in conservation efforts.

The results of this study will be essential in forming guidelines for volunteer dog handling programs. While the study is focused on dogs detecting the Tiger Quoll, it can certainly be expanded to other threatened species.

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Bennett is in a team made up of Dr Joslin Moore of Monash University and Dr Cindy Hauser, from the University of Melbourne.

 The results gotten from this study was submitted by Emma Bennett to EcoTAS 2017, the joint conference of the Ecological Society of Australia and the New Zealand Ecological Society.

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