I tell you, dogs can be trained to do almost anything:
A highly specialised detection dog trained to sniff out koala droppings is on the case in Logan, south of Brisbane, Australia, in a bid to boost protection for the vulnerable species. Logan City Council enlisted conservation canine Maya to help identify koala habitats in the area. Maya’s owner is Dr Cristescu, an ecologist who specialises in koala research.
And how did this pound puppy develop her, um, koalafications?
“You need a dog basically with an OCD on a tennis ball, an absolute nutcase on a tennis ball,” [Cristescu] said. “Then you scent-associate the tennis ball with the target odour — which is a koala poop — and then the dog will search for ages just to try to find that odour. She will go into an open area and she just has to find one little koala poop and she will just hit the deck. Maya will do a drop and then when you go up to her she’ll go and put her nose over the top of it and pinpoint exactly where it is. You’ve got a whole acre and you’ve found one tiny piece of koala poop.”
Maya, it appears, will be searching 1200 acres (about 500 hectares) over a two-week period.