Meet Maggie, a d-o-g with a j-o-b. The German Wirehaired Pointer is on duty in Cambodia sniffing out tiger poo. That's right, this pooch is sniffing out droppings in one of the country's largest nature reserves starting this week. Six-year-old Maggie was trained in Russia and joins the Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area to track down the big cats – the last sign of one (a paw print) was in 2007 so scientists are turning to this dog's powerful nose to hopefully find evidence, and help save the diminishing tiger population.
As part of a $10 million, 10-year initiative called "Tigers Forever," New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society joins big cat group, Panthera, in spending about $30,000 to bring this pooch (and another later this year) to Asia for this search. Wildlife monitoring adviser, Hannah O'Kelly explains that the dung's data would help other researchers establish a baseline population of tigers before developing a conservation plan based on the numbers and the potential threats for the reserve.
If we cover the whole area and we don't find any tiger scat, then we can be reasonably confident there are no tigers. That would be very disappointing and I hope that doesn't happen.
I hope it doesn't happen either and I'll be following in hopes that proof of tigers' poo comes soon!