Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dog to sniff out threatened bees

Researchers studying the decline of the bumblebee have trained a dog to sniff out the insects in the wild. Toby, a three-year-old Springer spaniel, can find the bees' nests, hidden in dense undergrowth or in the ground, using only his nose. Experts at the University of Stirling said that studying the threatened bees was made much harder because of the difficulty in tracking them down. The three-year project involving Toby is the first of its kind. Prof Dave Goulson, who will oversee the work of Toby, said that his involvement would give a huge boost to conservation efforts. He said that of the UK's 25 varieties of bumblebee, three had become extinct and several others were in danger of going the same way because researchers knew very little about how they lived and what was destroying them. Source: BBC (via The Poodle (and Dog) Blog)

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