Darwin is his name but discovering islands isn’t his game.
In fact, his game is sniffing out enormous African land snails that can grow to 20 centimeters (7.8 inches) long.
Darwin, a Labrador Retriever, didn’t quite make the cut as a service dog but he did catch the attention of conservationists. They thought he was the perfect fit to be trained into his new job, that job being a sniffer dog for invasive wildlife species. Training Darwin to use his nose helped calm his hyperactive nature.
“He’s more than qualified to be a service dog to nature,” says the Dogs for Conservation website.
Darwin and Neville, a Black Labrador rescue, were donated to Santa Cruz – an island in the Galapagos – by Dogs for Conservation. Dogs for Conservation trains dogs to help humans preserve wildlife.
The plague of snails currently affects 50 acres of land across Santa Cruz and the snails are listed as one of the worlds more invasive species in the world. The crops that are being affected include bananas, carrots, tomatoes, peppers and even coffee. So far the snails aren’t found on any of the other islands around the Galapagos. Hopefully using these two pups will help to keep the snails from spreading.
The Galapagos are hoping to have 8 dogs at airports and seaports helping them sniff out these nasty creatures and their eggs by 2017.
The islands are the only place using the unique sniffing power of dogs to manage invasive wildlife. You can find these super sleuths sniffing out trouble in Canada, Mexico, Chile, the USA and New Zealand.