Dog to sniff out threatened frogs

2014-03-23 11:31
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Johannesburg - A 6-month-old border collie is being trained to sniff out African bullfrogs, currently a protected species, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.

The giant frogs are apparently gradually being wiped out by large-scale construction in Gauteng but Jessie, the dog, could help stem that tide.

Jessie's owner, North West University Zoology master's student Este Matthew first came up with the idea of training Jessie.

Her supervisor, Professor Che Weldon, said the dog would assist both developers and the environment. In the past, some development projects had to close down after the discovery of the frogs in the area.

Jessie is to be trained for a year by Swedish geologist, Peter Bergman, who previously used his alsatian, Rex, to assist with mineral exploration.

Because Jessie is so young, she is not exposed to live frogs immediately as they might startle her. Instead her training begins with using tea to heighten her sense of smell.

Weldon suggested that training dogs to sniff out frogs might also help with research into the Amatola toad - a species once thought to be extinct when it was not spotted at all between 1998 and 2011.

Read more on:    animals  |  environment

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