Beach Bum Biscuits: Working Dogs for Conservation

Mermaid Cottages loves our service dogs, so when we came across a certain special group of hard working canines, we just had to share!

Working Dogs for Conservation is one amazing foundation! WDC was formed in 2000 to collect information-rich wildlife and plant samples using specially trained detection dogs. They have projects all over the world, from California to Cameroon! Working Dogs for Conservation focuses on three primary goals: monitoring endangered wildlife, defining wildlife corridors, and helping eradicate damaging invasive species. And they do this all while ensuring full, rewarding lives for their dogs.

Working Dogs for Conservation has taken a leading role in using specially trained dogs in wildlife and conservation research worldwide, and we were lucky enough to find out about one of their many working dogs. Lily is a conservation dog with WDC. Along with the North Carolina Zoological Park and Wildlife Conservation Society, Lily and WDC are hard at work in Cameroon, near the border or Nigeria.

Meet the hard working, beautiful Lily! She's alerting to some dung to be studied.

Lily is helping to identify the population and disease parameters of the Cross River Gorilla, the world’s most endangered ape.  Only about 250 of these apes remain, and they are poorly understood. The hope is that Lily can help scientists to better understand these gorillas and bring them back from the brink of extinction.

In the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary

Lily sure is one hard working dog! Amiee Hurt, Co-founder and Associate Director of Working Dogs for Conservation, shared some of Lily’s photos with us as well as a few stories about Cameroon:

“Two [of the pictures] are in Mbu village, where a couple of white women and three big dogs was really big news! Ngaio is holding all 3 dogs while the village kids are intrigued. In the other, I impress the kids by playing fetch with Lily for awhile. There’s one where she’s alerting (see the two large poop piles to the right of her) and then one of her and me at the Kagwene Gorilla Sanctuary.

Lily did great in Cameroon. In the hot and humid coastal town of Limbe, she learned that coconuts make great dog toys. At our field sites, she worked long hours and found lots of dung- some fresh, most old. She fell in love with our field assistant, Michael, who cut our way through the jungle with a machete and would quickly come to her rescue to free her when she got tangled in vines. She got to act as ambassador dog; children and adults alike are often afraid of dogs there, but with her charming and friendly manner she made a lot of people laugh. I continue to enjoy her company every single day!”

We are so excited to know there are such hard working dogs (and people!) dedicated to conservation of our world’s endangered species! Mermaid Cottages wants to send out a huge thank you to the dogs and scientists of Working Dogs for Conservation; thank you for all you do!

If you’d like to learn more about Working Dogs for Conservation, please visit There, you can learn more about their dogs, their on-going projects, the scientists behind the work, and even how you can help the efforts!