Thursday, May 7, 2015
From the News: USDA dogs sniff out snakes
Striker, a U.S. Department of Agriculture brown tree snake detector dog, scratches at a cargo load notifying his handler that he has found a snake during a daily training session April 30, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. All USDA snake detector dogs are acquired from various rescue shelters in the Atlanta area and are selected based on temperament, willingness to work, motivation and prey drive. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Katrina M. Brisbin)
Following the brown tree snake's invasion of Guam, the conservation reaction to the snake has been two-fold. Firstly, biologists are trying to remove the snake from Guam (or at least get it to a more manageable level) so that bird life can again be reestablished. Secondly, priority is being given to limiting the spread of snake so that it doesn't expand its range into more islands, inflicting more damage.
Both methods are reliant to some degree on finding the snakes, which isn't easy - they are masters at hiding. Sometimes, you just need a little help from man's best friend...