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Rescue Dogs Sniff for Salamanders to Save Rare Species and Help People

Posted by Bruce Hill, Santa Fe National Forest and Ellita Willis, Office of Communication, US Forest Service in Forestry Animals Plants
Feb 21, 2017
Meet Frehley, a Border Collie rescued from the Seattle Animal Shelter who climbed the Jemez Mountains, clambering over rocks to track rare salamanders. Photo credit: Center for Conservation Biology.
Meet Frehley, a Border Collie rescued from the Seattle Animal Shelter who climbed the Jemez Mountains, clambering over rocks to track rare salamanders. Photo credit: Center for Conservation Biology.

Shelter dogs that are often rejected are getting a new lease on life. Plus they’re helping wildlife and people!  These conservation canines climbed the Jemez Mountains, clambering over rocks, running from smell to smell, to track where rare Jemez salamanders, a species found nowhere else in the world, are living in New Mexico.

This summer, the Santa Fe National Forest, along with many partners collaborated to bring two trained canines to the forest to locate the salamanders. The dogs were deployed to the Jemez Mountains during a monsoon as salamanders can be found more easily during the rainy season. The furry tracking specialists’ service is critical to the future of Jemez salamanders and our forests. The warmer, drier climate in New Mexico has impacted the habitat, threatening their survival.

Meet Sampson, a Labrador rescued from the Seattle Humane Society who climbed the Jemez Mountains, clambering over rocks to track rare salamanders. Photo Credit: Mark L. Watson New Mexico Dept. of Game and Fish.
Meet Sampson, a Labrador rescued from the Seattle Humane Society who climbed the Jemez Mountains, clambering over rocks to track rare salamanders. Photo Credit: Mark L. Watson New Mexico Dept. of Game and Fish.

Because salamanders are succumbing to warmer temperatures and drought conditions, their population has drastically declined. Between the two dogs, and with human assistance, only seven of the salamanders were found during the latest search effort.  By mapping the salamanders, scientists will be able to create a land management plan that will help salamanders, as well as the forests we all depend on for clean water supplies and recreation. The work includes restoring the forest, woodlands and streams.

Project partners plan to bring the dogs back in the spring or summer of 2013.  The partnering agencies involved in the effort include: Santa Fe National Forest, The Nature Conservancy, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, US Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Arizona, the Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute and the Valles Caldera Trust in the Jemez Mountains.

Category/Topic: Forestry Animals Plants

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Comments

Bonnie Kisko
Dec 12, 2012

I am an animal warrior and transport from high kill shelters almost every weekend here in Florida. I am part of a group of volunteers that form a chain of cars that take a 'leg' of an hour or so moving them N or S along I-75. All that are transport will evenutally find loving homes.

It is nice to see shelter dogs utilized in this fashion...keep up the good work!!

Morella de Rosa
Dec 13, 2012

I am very happy to hear this kind of news. Its a win win situational and I hope this project continue and expand in order to provide more opportunities for shelter dogs,
keep the good work!

Best!!

Kay Martin
Dec 17, 2012

I love working dogs. Rescuing these dogs and teaching them a useful skill, which ultimately saves other lives and helps mankind, is a terrific thing to do. High praise to this organization!

John Cruise
Dec 21, 2012

This organization can give the best to our society since they will help our dogs and teach or train them on different skills. Dogs are our bestfriends and good to hear that there is an organization that concerned them after us as a dog owner.