Detection Dogs as Ambassadors and Field Assistants to Protect Imperiled Reptiles and Amphibians
Worldwide, reptiles and amphibians are declining at an alarming rate, mostly due to anthropogenic causes, but also as a chronically understudied taxa. With life histories including secretive habits like long periods of dormancy and extreme camouflage, reliable survey data can be difficult to obtain through traditional techniques that rely on visual/tactile cues and capture techniques. In recent years, several groups have experimented with adding a dog’s nose to increase detection rates. While not exhaustive, this chapter provides some examples of pilot studies and applications of detection dogs for reptiles and amphibians, and includes the challenges and successes of the technique. Detection dogs’ highly evolved sense of smell and specialized training show promise to aid in more efficient and effective detection techniques for reptiles and amphibians.
KeywordsDog Detection Olfaction Aquatic ecosystem Amphibian Reptile Salamander Newt Snake Turtle Survey technique Survey challenge Conservation ambassadors Conservation Endangered Invasive
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