Woodland stream.

Nebraska Dogs Help Cougar Research

Nebraska is on the eastern edge of the mountain lion's range. Hunters and ranchers eliminated the species from the state way back in 1890. Yet neighboring states still have lions, and in recent years, a few cats have begun wandering over. Feline conservation biologist Karen DeMatteo has been working to track these cats in the hope of learning more about the population, identifying corridors, and reducing conflicts with people. What's especially interesting about her work is that she never needs to come in contact with a lion. She uses specially trained dogs to sniff out scat (lion poop). The scat samples are then analyzed in a lab to extract DNA, revealing the gender of the lion and even how it is related to other lions in the area. To the dogs, it's all a big game; but to biologists it's a clever non-invasive way to study the local wildlife. Check out the video for more information.



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