Working Dog News
December 2007 Volume 1 Issue 2
As 2007 comes quickly to a close, we reflect on the successes the year has brought us, and look forward to the new year, which promises new challenges and opportunities.
Dogs Afoot Let it Snow, Let it Snow...Leopard, that is
We have a brand new freezer packed to the rim with snow leopard scats, thanks to a collaborative effort with Dr. Tom McCarthy of the International Snow Leopard Trust (ISLT). Listed as endangered in 1972, the snow leopard (Uncia uncia) ranges over 12 countries in central Asia, including
The goal is for the dogs to confirm that scats collected by human searchers are indeed from snow leopards, and then to go one step further and identify which individual animal produced the scats. Knowing how much area was covered to find the scats, how many scats were collected, and which animals produced each scat will provide detailed population information for Dr. McCarthy and his colleagues. Recently, Linda Kerley and Galina Salkina published their research on the use scent-matching dogs to identify individual tigers from scats (see Detection Directions, this issue).
We hope to build upon their research by exploring the effectiveness of dogs discriminating among snow leopard scats, and determine details which may be specific to snow leopards such as cost-effectiveness, proper study design, misclassification rates, and appropriate selection and maintenance of scent-matching dogs. The task requires heaps of scat samples positively identified from individual snow leopards. To gather this odd bounty, ISLT enlisted the help of captive facilities and coordinated the collection and shipment of hundreds of scat samples. Big Cat Rescue proved to be so enthusiastic about the task that they posted an entertaining and informative video about it on You Tube.
Read more about this work on ISLT’s website.
Detection Directions Tiger Matching in
In 2004, we had the opportunity to visit Dr. Linda Kerley in a tiny village in the Russian far east where she and her Russian colleagues use dogs to help in their studies of Amur tigers and leopards. Members of the Amur tiger population are so genetically similar that often the lab can't make distinctions between individual tigers- but the dogs can! See the project's Journal of Wildlife Management article for all the details. Dr. Kerley summarizes her work here for our readers and shares pictures that you won't find in the journal. Take a look!
Dogs Afield Dogs on the Rise in the
In April of this year, WDCF travelled to
Nose Needs Hey Buddy, Need a Ride?
WDCF is a 501(c)(3) organization, and as such, any donation you give is tax-deductible. The simplest way to make a difference for conservation dogs and wildlife is by contributing a gift online, which you can do here. Donations of all
...Finally, we're thankful for newly acquired knowledge that we hope to never use. Footloose
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
Sign our petition to protect tigers here:
Get 7 Free Lessons from the Teachers of "The Secret" here: http://www.bigcatrescue.org/TheSecret.htm
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