Dogs Are Helping to Save Rare Orchids

Dogs are helping orchids. The North American Orchid Conservation Center has two projects where dogs are working to save endangered species (the article is in the middle of their newsletter.) With their keen sense of smell, specially trained hounds have learned to identify the orchids from dried specimens. They can locate wild plants when they’re out of bloom, and even when they’re completely dormant. The Small Whorled Pogonia, Isotria medeoloides, can stay dormant underground for over a decade. It can be very difficult to find, but the pups are learning how. Canelo Hills Ladies’ Tresses, Spiranthes delitescens is a rare orchid from only a few Arizona locations, but the dogs sniff it out easily. With canine assistance, conservationists are learning more about these species, and improving the odds that they can preserve them.

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