What a wild story! Perfect for the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum! Imagine trying to capture samples of whale poop – this dog can smell whale a mile away!
WSJ: Seafaring Dog Follows an Elusive Whale Trail
Tucker, Lab With a Keen Nose, Aids Scientists; View From the Poop Deck
Tucker got lucky. Rescued by a shelter, he was turned over to Conservation Canines, the University of Washington unit that employs Ms. Seely as a dog handler. Tucker became an asset to scientists because of his acute sense of smell and delirious work ethic. His specialty: tracking the feces of exotic species.
The pair has worked together in frozen tundra, hunting caribou, moose and wolf droppings for oil companies monitoring the health of mammals living near busy excavation sites. They have worked in the tropics, contracted by the government of the Caribbean nation of St. Lucia to collect droppings from an invasive species of iguana. Tucker has recently become adept at detecting bat guano, helping Conservation Canines locate bat roosts in Old Growth Pacific forests.
Finding “scat,” as biologists refer to animal leavings, helps scientists in many ways. Scat is rich in DNA as well as toxins and hormones. Analyzed in a lab, droppings linked to an individual beast can be traced over years to chart health histories of an animal and its offspring.