Conservation Canine is a group that is lightly affiliated with the University of WA, and focuses on working with odor detection trained rescued dogs to locate and track scat/feces of multiple target species over large remote areas and from considerable distances. They track killer whales, butterflies, grizzly bears, bats, birds and many other species via their scat/feces. They extract DNA, a variety of hormones, toxins and diet measures from these samples and use this information to quantify changes in the health, abundance and distribution of species threatened by one or more human disturbances. The data they generate indicate the causes of population decline, the magnitude of the problem, and what mitigation strategies are likely to be most effective.
Conservation Canine was introduced to Golden Bond Rescue by our rescue partner in China named Zhuzi. He has visited with Conservation Canine several times during his visits to the Seattle area, on his mission to learn about every type of working dog and their training that he can.
Julianne Ubigau is the current Outreach Education Specialist for the Conservation Canines and has been a handler with the Conservation Canines program since November of 2006. Her seasoned cohort, Sampson, is a 14-year-old Black Labrador retriever who is an nine-year veteran of the CK9 detection dog program. Diversified and highly experienced as a dog-handler team, Sampson and Julianne specialize in pilots studies that push the boundaries of traditional canine detection work. They have traveled extensively throughout North America, assisting researchers on a wide variety of conservation research projects.
More about Sampson
Rescued from Seattle Humane in October of 2008, Sampson was selected for his high energy and an insatiable drive to play ball. As with all of the program dogs, this drive was used as the training mechanism that led Sampson to quickly associate very specific targets with the reward of play time. Today Sampson is trained on over 20 targets. Julianne and Sampson have embarked are various projects throughout North America since their first assignment in 2008, locating wildlife scat of various species that range from the tiny Pacific pocket mice (Perognathus longimembris pacificus) to the giant Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos ssp.). Some other targets in Sampson’s diverse repertoire of targets include Jemez mountain Salamanders (Plethodon neomexicanus) sea turtle eggs (Chelonioidea), environmental pollutants, and an invasive plant called garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata).
Julianne, along with her CK9 sidekicks Sampson and Casey, enjoys outreach opportunities that share the important research performed at the Center for Conservation Biology. Effort is focused on delivering outreach to urban, rural and communities traditionally underrepresented in the STEM-field, but commonly visited by CCB researchers during fieldwork opportunities. “Teaching has always been a passion of mine. To educate, and perform research with the detection dogs, is a uniquely special opportunity. The dogs ignite a rare interest in community members. This serves as a wonderful teaching tool and conversation starter. I feel fortunate to work amongst such inspiration.”
And, If this isn’t enticement enough, WE’LL HAVE CAKE!