April 21, 2012
I have had the honor and pleasure of being the driver on the research vessel Moja, working with CK9 Tucker and his handler Liz Seely, for the past three years on the Southern Resident Killer Whale Project in Washington State. Liz and Tucker are the most amazing team, able to cooperatively find killer whale fecal matter in the dynamic and unpredictable waters of Puget Sound. Although I have gotten to witness this team in action hundreds of times, it never ceases to amaze me that they can guide our research vessel right to a fecal sample, sometimes from as far away as a mile. As a research who has been conducting whale behavior research on the Southern Residents for the past 7 years, I honestly believe that the Conservation Canines - scat detection project is our very best hope for finding out what is impacting the declining Southern Resident killer whale population the most. This information will help guide policy for the recovery of this endangered population of whales.
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