WD4C dogs have traveled to 5 continents and worked in almost every habitat on earth. 

Wherever they are, their scientist-handlers keep them safe, happy, and focused on their task: collecting high-quality, hard-to-find data that helps protect wildlife and wild places.

PROJECTS

FEATURED PROJECTS

WD4C dogs have traveled to 5 continents and worked in almost every habitat on earth. 

Wherever they are, their scientist-handlers keep them safe, happy, and focused on their task: collecting high-quality, hard-to-find data that helps protect wildlife and wild places.

projects

ecological monitoring & habitat mapping

Ecological monitoring -- finding where species live, how many there are, and what they need -- is vital to many conservation efforts. Conservation detection dogs can be up to 40 times more efficient than human searchers at developing population and habitat data: they can cover large areas and rough terrain, detect cryptic species and scents hidden in deep vegetation, and do it with virtually limitless eagerness and energy.

Human searches are often biased toward adult and territorial animals, but dogs find scats from all individuals, including juveniles and subordinates, giving better data and more accurate population and distribution estimates.

featured projects:

featured projects:

poaching & trafficking prevention

For most of our history, WD4C has used dogs’ exceptional abilities to find where and how cryptic, rare, or threatened species live. We are now putting our dogs to work finding and eliminating threats to these species. 

During our work monitoring lion, cheetah, and wild dogs in Zambia, we saw the victims of poaching firsthand: elephants shot for ivory, rhinos killed for their horns, and countless animals caught in vicious traps. We knew our dogs could help.

Our first target was the wire snares that have become epidemic throughout Africa. Skeptics told us that dogs couldn’t detect metal, but Pepin and Wicket didn’t get that memo: Not only can dogs find snares, they are 25% better at finding them than human searchers. And having dogs search for them frees scouts to remain vigilant for buffalo, elephant, and large carnivores.

We have now trained dogs to find guns, gunpowder and ammunition in addition to ivory, rhino horn, bushmeat, and pangolin scales. Their success in helping wildlife authorities find wildlife products, confiscate weapons, and arrest poachers has been immediate, and they’re having a big impact keeping protected areas safe for wildlife.

To keep African wildlife products from being trafficked around the world, we are currently placing conservation detection dogs with customs agents in Vietnam, Malawi, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Cambodia, and the United States.

featured projects:

aquatic species detection

While dogs are widely used for cadaver recoveries in water, their potential for detecting aquatic wildlife has remained largely untapped -- until now.

WD4C has already developed training techniques to teach our dogs to detect aquatic contaminants including heavy metals, fire retardants, and pharmaceuticals. We are now pioneering methods by which they can detect — and discriminate between — live aquatic species.

Invasive species are present in nearly every aquatic ecosystem. Whether introduced by “bucket biologists” or inadvertently spread by boats, people, or wildlife, invasives displace native species, destroy infrastructure, and degrade sport and commercial fisheries.

Canine aquatic detection is a powerful new tool for monitoring stream health, tracking and combating invasive species, and protecting threatened and endangered fish. 

featured projects:

The best way to stop invasive species is to catch them early. Luckily, this is exactly where conservation detection dogs excel. While human searchers often can’t find invaders until after they have taken over, dogs are able to scent the first colonists, alerting us to an invasion before it moves past the point of no return.

WD4C has trained dogs to find Chinese bush clover in Iowa, yellow star thistle in Colorado, Rosy Wolf Snails in Hawaii, and brown tree snakes in Guam. Our dogs’ potential to find conservation targets is seemingly endless, and they have become an invaluable tool for protecting pristine habitats and eradicating invasive species where they have taken hold.

invasive species detection & eradication

disease & contaminant detection

WD4C likes to be first. Our founders were the first to train dogs to detect wide-ranging carnivores non-invasively, to uncover illegal snares in Africa, and to find invasive plants and insects, subterranean animals, and invasive fish. 

We’re working on being the first to use conservation dogs to detect disease in free-ranging wildlife, an application that could have enormous impacts on wildlife, ranching, and local economies.

featured project:

disease & contaminant detection

WD4C likes to be first. Our founders were the first to train dogs to detect wide-ranging carnivores non-invasively, to uncover illegal snares in Africa, and to find invasive plants and insects, subterranean animals, and invasive fish. 

We’re working on being the first to use conservation dogs to detect disease in free-ranging wildlife, an application that could have enormous impacts on wildlife, ranching, and local economies.

© 2015 Working Dogs for Conservation

WD4C  |  PO Box 280  |  Bozeman, MT 59771 |  USA