A terrier mix named Dory can quickly locate sea turtle eggs in nests on a beach in Florida. He does it much more efficiently than people. American experts said other trained sniffer dogs could be used to protect the eggs of these sea creatures, which are considered endangered.
Many species of sea turtles (Cheloniidae) is at risk of extinction. One of the reasons for the decline in their population is the loss of land for building nests. In recent years, conservationists around the world have been trying to protect sea turtles by protecting their eggs. According to experts, this is the only way to increase their chance of survival. To protect the eggs, marine biologists first have to find them in the nests, which is unfortunately not an easy task. A popular method is to follow the tracks of the turtle that has built the nest. But these traces do not always lead directly to the destination. That’s why researchers from the USA wanted to check how a trained dog would perform in this task.
Turtle egg tracking dogs
American scientists (Rebekah Lindborg, Pepe Peruyero, Blair Witherington), in their research published on September 13 in the journal “PLOS ONE”, used a dog named Dory to look for sea turtle nests along an eight-kilometer stretch of Vero Beach in Florida.
Dory is a stray dog found in Florida. It is a mix of different terrier breeds that are known for their ability to track down creatures that live in the ground. After a few months of training, Dory was ready to help find turtle nests on the beach. Scientists checked whether a female dog would be able to find more of them than humans.
It turned out that Dory located 560 nests, while humans found only 256, although the scientists admit that the dog worked more days. Despite this, they believe that she was much better at choosing the place to dig for the nest.
According to the authors of the publication, tracking dogs can help biologists find nests with eggs much faster and more precisely.
Sea turtles dig holes in the sand on the seashore to build nests in which they lay their eggs. Once the juveniles hatch, they must then make their way to the sea. Sometimes covering this distance is a real fight for survival.
Main photo source: Shutterstock