Former Drug-Sniffing Retriever Now Sniffs Out Jaguars, Mountain Lions in Conservation Efforts

Train, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever (pictured above), couldn’t cut it as a drug-sniffing dog. He was too hyper, too energetic. But he took his nasal talents and physical strength to good use and became a conservationist. Seriously.


Train travels the world sniffing scat, otherwise known as poop, with his owner, conservation biologist Karen DeMatteo. The rescue dog smells the scat of elusive animals, such as jaguars and oncillas, for the purposes of research into the habitats of endangered animals.


“Everybody leaves poop behind in the forest,” DeMatteo said, according to CNN.com. “You can figure out which habitats they like and which habitats they avoid … Everywhere, people are expanding. We can try to figure out areas of potential overlap between humans and wildlife. We can identify areas that need more work, areas that are great corridors, or areas that are kind of lost to the cause.”


conservation biologist dog
Source: Karen DeMatteo

Train is coming up on his 12th birthday, but there’s no sign of him slowing down any time soon. In fact, his mileage is quite remarkable. Just last year, CNN reports, he trekked 1,000 kilometers in the Argentinian forest.


“You’re like, ‘Oh my God, how does he do it?'” DeMatteo told CNN. “It just makes life really great to get up and work with a dog every day.”


Next up for Train and DeMatteo is Nebraska, where they will focus on mountain lions.


conservation biologist dog
Source: Karen DeMatteo

Check out Train in action in the video below. (The words are in Spanish, but that doesn’t really matter. Just watch him do his thing!) And below that video, find an adorable one of him napping after a hard day’s work. For more photos and videos of Train, along with more information about his research with DeMatteo, check out their Facebook page.




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