Een neus voor de natuur: over de mogelijkheden van speurhonden in het natuurbehoud

Arno Thomaes, Ianthe Terpelle, Dorien Van Cauteren, Ellen Van Krunkelsven, Wim Vanhove, Hilde Vervaecke, Koen Van Den Berge

    Research output: Contribution to journalA2: Article in a journal with peer review, not included in A1peer-review

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    Detection dogs have been assigned with various tasks such as finding drugs, explosives and human corpses. However, these dogs can also be trained to search for certain species of conservation interest. Common examples are dogs looking for scat of specific mammals, quarantine species at import localities or carcasses of bats under windmills. This technique is very helpful for species that are otherwise hard to find. The highest success is achieved if the dog can search for a non-mobile component: plant, scat, nest or carcasses. In two bachelor dissertations, we tested the success rate of training a detection dog for the larvae of Stag Beetle Lucanus cervus and the scat of Otter Lutra lutra. In both cases the dogs were succesfull in detecting the species. Two dogs trained for Otter scat succeeded in 80 and 100% of the cases. One dog trained for Stag Beetles performed good in 81% of the cases. We conclude that detection dogs could be an interesting technique to monitor or study species for nature conservation, if appropriate species are selected, training is carried out professionally and the dog can be used regularly on the field. 
    Original languageDutch
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)166-170
    Number of pages5
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Thematic list

    • Fauna
    • Species protection plan

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B320-zoogeography

    Taxonomic list

    • carnivores (Carnivora)
    • stag beetles (Lucanidae)


    • species directed nature management

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