A Talk on the Wild Side.
I have a service dog who helps me with various everyday tasks like picking things up, pushing buttons, carrying my lunchbox and pretty much anything else you can think of. Fame is awesome.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has dogs, too, helping us with various conservation tasks, and although they probably wouldn’t be that great at developing a recovery plan for an endangered species, the dogs are a wonder at sniffing out illegal wildlife products being shipped into or out of the country.
Making it even more impressive: Unlike Fame, who has been training for her career her entire life, the FWS Wildlife Detector Dogs are mostly “recruited” from shelters. They and their inspector handlers do complete a training course at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan, Georgia. But still … instead of learning to sit or shake, these dogs are learning to “key” in on various scents.
|The new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service graduates (from left); Chad Hornbaker and his canine partner Dock; Pamela “PJ” Akeo and her canine partner Hanna; Javier Pacheco and his canine partner Smokey; and Lauren King and her canine partner Dutton. Photo by Nadine Siak/USFWS|
The newest class of four Wildlife Detector Dogs -- Dock, Dutton, Hanna and Smokey -- and their human partners graduated today and will soon spread out across the nation to some of the busiest ports of entry for wildlife trade. There they will get to work conserving species like elephant, rhino, alligator and more.
|Wildlife Inspector Amanda Dickson and her canine partner Lancer, who both graduated from the Inspection Canine Team program in 2013, return to the National Detector Dog Training Center to show support for the newest graduates April 14,. Photo by Nadine Siak/USFWS|
The first four Wildlife Detector Dogs -- Locket, Butter, Viper and Lancer -- graduated in April 2013 and quickly made their presence felt, sniffing out live birds, elephant ivory and more. With the newest noses on the job, smugglers might want to find a new line of work.
Matt Trott, External Affairs