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Video: Dog Sniffs Out Mountain Lion Scat

National Geographic grantee Karen DeMatteo is turning an age-old rivalry on its head, using dogs to help protect cats in the wild.

While several protected areas keep jaguars, pumas, ocelots, and very rarely seen bush dogs somewhat safe in Argentina, logging, poaching, and a network of highways through the parks still keep these animals under threat.

DeMatteo is training dogs to sniff out the droppings of these predators, then collecting the samples, testing their DNA, and building up a database of information on individual cats, their family relationships, and their behavior. Geographic information systems (GIS) will then be used to identify potential conflict zones and key habitat for protection. Her goal is to “expand our knowledge of how these species are moving through the landscape so we can determine locations for biological corridors/wildlife crossings that maximize animal movement and minimize human-wildlife conflict.”

Her team is now back in Argentina for the summer, working to fill in gaps in the data created by problems with time or weather in previous expeditions.

You can see Karen and her own dog at work using the same techniques to help North American mountain lions in this video courtesy of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

 

Comments

  1. Miriam
    xsVchMtkqeCNxLApGEg
    September 24, 2012, 10:55 pm

    That air can thing might actually work some of those YouTube vidoes are pretty funny I don’t mind using the surprise factor at all, though I do want to stay away from those electric scat mats.

  2. [...] So far, DeMatteo has taken Train into Argentina for two research trips—one in 2009, which surveyed nine regions and identified 192 scat samples, and most recently in 2011, when the duo searched 14 protected areas and found 289 scats. (Watch a video of Train at work.) [...]

  3. Emm
    June 12, 2011, 2:04 am

    I must be immature since the dog reminded me of Triumph (the rottweiler puppet on Conan O’Brian) and I laughed when I saw the guy researcher pick up the poop and put it in a brown paper bag.
    Don’t get me wrong, I think this research is interesting and important. Also cataloging the DNA collected from samples is a good idea…its just scat kinda grosses me out a little is all.

  4. [...] for biological corridors that maximize animal movement and minimize human-animal conflict. Read more, and see DeMatteo and her own dog at work, at “Video: Dog Sniffs Out Mountain Lion [...]

  5. [...] This Job Stinks: Dog Sniffs Out Mountain Lion Scat [...]

  6. [...] This Job Stinks: Dog Sniffs Out Mountain Lion Scat [...]

  7. [...] Dog Sniffs Out Mountain Lion Scat [...]