News & Opinion | March 12, 2019 5:00 am

Failed Drug-Sniffing Dog Finds Elusive Wild Animals Now

Train has been trained to sniff out the feces of mountain lions and other animals.

Train was on the path of a typical drug-sniffing dog, but his handlers found him too hyper to finish the training program.

But since then, he’s sniffed out a different purpose.

Biologist Karen DeMatteo trained her rescue pooch to find the feces of wild animals like mountain lions that have been too elusive for researchers and conservationists to track.

Being able to track the animals is important because researchers can determine which habitats the animals are avoiding and which ones they prefer.

“Everywhere, people are expanding,” DeMatteo told CNN. “We can try to figure out areas of potential overlap between humans and wildlife. We can identify areas that need more work, areas that are great corridors, or areas that are kind of lost to the cause.”

Train’s energy turned out to be the perfect trait for trekking through the forests of Argentina.

“Train was just a machine,” DeMatteo says. “We just switched him to use all that energy and search really big areas and find this poop for us.”