Through the Jaguar Corridor Initiative, Panthera’s Costa Rica-based jaguar research team has taken on a new and unique four-legged partner named Google. Google, or as we like to call him “the ultimate search engine,” is a three year old, 76 pound German shorthaired pointer who is being trained for Panthera by Carlos Orozco of the Hablemos de Perros organization to identify and locate jaguar scat (feces) in the rainforests of Costa Rica. As jaguars tend to bury their scat in the thick vegetation of Costa Rica’s rainforests, Panthera’s 2-legged field staff find it extremely challenging to locate poop. And that’s where Google comes in! As Panthera’s Executive Director of Jaguar Programs Dr. Howard Quigley explained “examining the scat will help scientists learn about the range of land jaguars cover, what they eat, how many there are within a specific area and whether or not different populations of jaguars breed with each other.” These data are critical for Panthera to carry out comprehensive ecological research and develop conservation initiatives to protect the jaguar, now listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. And Google will make our lives a lot easier!
This week, Carlos traveled with Google from Costa Rica to Miami to have him certified as an official scat-detecting dog at the Miami K-9 Academy. Luckily, Zoo Miami generously provided Google with the jaguar poop needed for his training. (We’re pretty sure they wanted this off their hands anyway!) Carlos conducted three tests by placing jaguar scat in a large, open field for Google to track down. As trained, within seconds Google located and sat down next to the jaguar scat to successfully pass each test. Job well done Google! This is definitely a dogs work.
Read about Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative on our website and in our Jaguar Corridor Initiative brochure to learn about the conservation work we are conducting in 13 of the 18 jaguar range states.
Read Panthera’s Jaguar Report Card: The State of the Jaguar.