When camera traps and a field survey failed to find the big cats, the Wildlife Conservation Society went to the dogs. The first dog is called Maggie and another dog will be brought in later. She has a unique skill. She sniffs for tiger poop scat. Maggie is a German wirehaired pointer that was trained in Russia to work in the largest nature preserves in Cambodia searching for the elusive tigers. The Seima Biodiversity Conservation area where she will be working is approximately 3,000 square kilometres.
“Now, researchers are hoping the tiger scat will help determine the existence of tigers in Seima along with their sex, age and whether any are pregnant or even under threat.
“As we gain the technology to extract things from scat like DNA and hormones, all of sudden scat becomes a gold mine of information,” said Linda Kerley, a WCS consultant who trained the dogs in Russia.
O’Kelly said the data from the dung would allow researchers to establish a baseline population of tigers for the reserve and then develop a conservation plan based on the numbers and the potential threats.”
This method (of using dogs) has been successful in Russia’s Far East and hopefully will be successful in locating and preserving these beautiful animals in Cambodia.