Of dogs and whales

This black lab here is Tucker, and he is certainly a low tech solution for scientific investigation. Researchers are using dogs to track whale faeces on the ocean. With this information, scientists can find out about whales’ diet, health and stress patterns. Tucker has been trained to smell the faeces from over a mile away, and directs the boat to collect the samples. As a prize, Tucker gets to play with a ball every time he finds ‘gold’.

So far the studies have revealed that whales suffer from stress due to tourism. The tourist boats get very close and cause whales to secrete a stress hormone, which is found in lesser quantities near commercial fishing boats. Also, scientists have detected a lower content of fish and greater effort required for feeding for the whales. If you can read Portuguese, check the article here.

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