Shelter Dogs Are Being Trained to Protect Wildlife—by Sniffing Poop

FiN85/iStock via Getty Images
FiN85/iStock via Getty Images

Dogs can identify tainted wine just by sniffing it, and now shelter dogs' incredible olfactory skills are being put to work for wildlife conservation.

Shelter dogs with endless energy might not make ideal pets, but Samuel Wasser, director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington, gives them a new purpose in the center's Conservation Canines program. Wasser and his colleagues train high-energy and obsessively focused dogs to seek out the scat—a.k.a. poop—of threatened and endangered wildlife. Dogs are 153 percent more accurate than humans in detecting scat by smell, and through the program, the dogs have identified scat from tigers, orcas, spotted owls, bears, and Pacific pocket mice. The dogs hone their skills in Washington State's 4300-acre Pack Forest.

Their work isn't limited to land animals. Since 2006, Wasser and researcher Deborah Giles have studied the endangered southern resident orcas around the San Juan Islands in Washington with the help of the conservation canines. Giles’s rescue dog, Eba, goes out on the boat with researchers and locates orca scat in the water—a scent usually undetectable to humans, KCPQ.com reports. From collected samples of whale poop, Wasser and Giles can tell if the donor animal is pregnant, if it’s getting enough food, and if it's diseased. The sample's chemical composition can paint an entire portrait of the animal’s health. “If you don’t collect data, you don’t know what’s going on,” Wasser told KCPQ.com.

The canines' incredible sense of smell is one key to understanding orcas and other species. And when it comes to saving these threatened animals, humans need all the help they can get.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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Treat Your Feline This Holiday Season With Fancy Feast’s Cat Food Advent Calendar

Fancy Feast/Chewy
Fancy Feast/Chewy

In anticipation of the holiday season, many children and adults get to unwrap mini presents each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas day, during what's known as Advent. Though Advent itself dates back to the 4th century, the version we know today, complete with the chocolate-filled calendars, was popularized in the early 1900s. And apparently it's no longer just for humans, because Fancy Feast is letting your feline roommate in on the fun with this unique cat food Advent calendar, now available at Chewy for $23.

For the 24 days leading up to Christmas, your cat will get to enjoy a variety of different wet foods, including favorites like grilled salmon, chicken, and more. There is even a unique ornament included with each calendar featuring a cat in the shape of a heart that can go right onto your tree. (Also, don't be surprised to find your actual cat making its way into the middle of your tree; they're known climbers.)

Now while you enjoy your Advent calendars from brands like LEGO, Funko, and more, your cat will be able to join in on the fun as well. To learn more about Fancy Feast's Feastivites Advent Calendar, head on over to Chewy.

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