Research Featured in Local News

Work led by Grace Lewin and Charlie Branman at the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve was highlighted in KCLU. 

October 9, 2023

"Researchers use specially trained dogs to find wildlife scat. They want to see if carnivores are venturing from the mountains to the coast to eat.

We’re with a dog which is putting its nose to work for a very unusual mission.

Barley is a border collie which is trained, and rewarded for finding poo. Yes, poo. Barley is one of two special dogs on assignment at the Nature Conservancy’s 24,000 acre Dangermond Preserve, in Santa Barbara County. The dog is searching for some very specific poo, technically known as wildlife scat, in the name of science.

"The dogs are looking for carnivore scat, so the poop from mountain lions, bears, coyotes, and fox," said Hillary Young, who is a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at U-C Santa Barbara.

The research project is focused on an interesting theory: That carnivores like mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and even bears are making their way down from the mountains, and foothills of the preserve to the coast, to feast on marine mammals."

Article by: Lance Orozco