As the scat detection dog handler and trainer at CCF. One of the key roles of my work at CCF is to collect scat samples for use in CCF’s genetics studies and also for storage in the genome resource bank. These samples are vital for our research, and the use of specially-trained dogs like ours allows the collection to happen more efficiently and effectively.
One of CCF’s long-term supporters is Samuel Wasser, a Professor at the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. Professor Wasser is a pioneer in using dogs for conservation and research, and he founded the Conservation Canines program at the Center for Environmental Forensic Sciences (formerly, Center for Conservation Biology) at the University of Washington. One of the dog handlers in this program is Julianne Ubigau, who has many years of experience in training dogs and executing data collection.
Recently, Julianne visited CCF together with her partner Tyler for 2 nights. During their visit, they got to meet all the different departments at CCF and even fed the cheetahs. They also helped with the LGD (Livestock Guarding Dog) program. CCF raises dogs alongside livestock to help protect farmers’ livelihoods by protecting livestock from predators such as cheetahs.
It was especially exciting for me to have a fellow dog handler at CCF with such a great wealth of experience. I am usually the only trainer at CCF, and it was amazing to see how Julianne works. Her visit was a great touchstone for me. I got to see how she sometimes faces the same struggles and shares the same insecurities about her work but she also shares the same passion and successes with the dogs she works with. I had a great time exchanging ideas with Julianne, and I learned a lot from her. We even went out together to do some training with Enya, CCF’s scat-detection dog.
I am looking forward to staying in touch with Julianne and continuing to exchange ideas in the future. The work done by CCF, and programs like Conservation Canines, are vital in the effort to protect and preserve cheetahs and other endangered species.