Putting Dogs’ Noses to Work

Dogs have a super sense of smell. Now people are training dogs to use their sense of smell to find plants or animals that hurt the environment. Dogs can also help save endangered animals.

Working Dogs for Conservation (WD4C) trains dogs to sniff and find harmful plants or animals. Workers can then destroy the plants or animals. For example, WD4C used dogs to stop the spread of zebra mussels in a lake in Yellowstone National Park. These tiny, striped shellfish were eating all of the algae, which other animals needed as food. The trained dogs found the mussels more quickly than the workers. The dogs helped save the lake!

People also use dogs to locate endangered animals. Dogs help find endangered gorillas that hide deep in the forests. How do dogs find them? Dogs follow the scent of gorilla dung. That’s gorilla poop! After the dogs find the gorillas, workers can protect them. Dogs’ noses can play a really important role in saving our environment.