This dog is trained to sniff out a rare toad in Colorado’s high country

Police officers have dogs that can detect if a person is carrying drugs. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a dog that can detect toads – high mountain toads that are endangered.

Boreal toads live in high elevations in the West, at an elevation of around 8,000 to 10,000 feet. They’re unique because they can survive in mountain creeks and ponds, despite the climate.

There are dogs trained to detect drugs, and explosives… and toads. Cash is like a drug dog for wildlife. He’s sniffing out toads Boreal Toads because they’re endangered, and researchers want to study them.

Boreal toads are about the size of a golf ball, with spots on their stomachs. They are currently dwindling in numbers, and can sometimes be elusive. That’s where Cash, the K9, comes in.

Brock Mcardle, a district wildlife manager for CPW, and Cash’s partner, says Cash can help find the toads in their high mountain habitats, so biologists can do counts to monitor how many toads are left in the region.

Cash

Mcardle says cash is a wildlife canine and part of a pilot program. CPW is trying to determine if dogs can be utilized more in the areas of conservation and law enforcement. The 2-year-old black Lab is trained to detect endangered species, including the Black-footed ferret, and the Boreal toad.

“The dog sees with his nose, and it serves as another tool we can use.”

There are dogs trained to detect drugs, and explosives… and toads. Cash is like a drug dog for wildlife. He’s sniffing out toads Boreal Toads because they’re endangered, and researchers want to study them.

Mcardle says dogs can help search an area of a football field in 10 minutes, as opposed to 10 people taking two hours to search the same space. That extra time can come in handy, since the number of toads has been decreasing over the years for reasons including a fungus that can cause a deadly disease, and loss of habitat.

There are dogs trained to detect drugs, and explosives… and toads. Cash is like a drug dog for wildlife. He’s sniffing out toads Boreal Toads because they’re endangered, and researchers want to study them.

Mcardle says the hope for the toads is to figure out a way to stabilize them and keep them from declining.

Cash is one of two CPW dogs in the state, and was donated to the state agency by a breeder in Colorado. The wildlife dog program is a five-year plan, and is funded by donations.

Mcardle isn’t sure how many of these toads live in Colorado. They’ll bring the dogs out to do a count in the coming weeks.

© 2018 KUSA

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