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One dog is making waves in the world of scientific research. Twelve-year-old Train, a Chesapeake Bay retriever assisted researchers in finding animal fecal samples. Results will be used to map out habitats of wildlife in northeastern Misiones Province’s Atlantic Forest ecosystem in the forests of Argentina.

The project wants to expand Argentina’s wildlife corridor from 1.2 million, which was first established in 1999 to 2.2 million acres. The expansion would also protect the country’s most vulnerable ecosystem where animals such as jaguars, pumas, oncillas, ocelots, and bush dogs live. From the fecal samples, researchers will be able to identify the movements of the animals and their habitat. Eventually, the efforts will save these animals from poaching and further deforestation of their habitat.

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Train’s training in conservation detection started in 2009 when he was still two-years-old. His trainer and partner is a research scientist named Karen DeMatteo. She leads the project in partnership with the Argentine government. Since then, they have been together and travel together to Argentina every other year for the project. So far, they have spent five summers roaming the vast area of the project.

On the job, Train has covered more areas than any human could. He knows if he has found the poop of the animal that he is looking for. He gives signals every time he identifies a sample. He wags his tail and stays with the scat until the human researchers arrive on the scene. He never interferes with the found sample. Since the start of the project, Train has identified a total of almost a thousand fecal samples.

From the data gathered, the research team learns not only the kind of animals but also their gender, their movements along the protected area and even their diseases and diet. As a result, they can make plans on how to further conserve the animals, especially those considered as endangered species such as the bush dogs.

They have since finished with the project and are now mapping out plans to establish a partnership with other stakeholders. They are also crafting strategies for further conservation of the area. The program will have a long-term impact on the ecosystem and the animals living in the area. The researchers acknowledge Train’s contribution as key to the success of the project.

Please watch the video below. It is about Train’s valuable participation in the research.

Source: National Geographic via Youtube

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