Critescu is a koala researcher with a PhD focused on koalas in human-made habitats. Because koalas are so great at camoflauge, it helps to have a furry friend to help find them. Scientists can identify koalas and their location using droppings, but those can also be hard to find. That’s where Maya comes in.
“I started thinking that maybe there was another animal that could find these scats by relying on their nose.” Koala poo is very smelly, but it doesn’t smell like poo – it smells like eucalyptus. Using your eyes, they are quite hard to spot, but for dogs the smell would be like a rose in the bush,” Critescu said.
Maya was a rescue puppy that was trained for this work and to find koalas scent. Maya is a blue merle border collie. Now, Maya helps lead other dogs in research and conservation, Critescu co-founded the USC Detection Dogs for Conservation (DDC), an organization that trains dogs to help with conservation.
Now that Maya is a senior dog, she’s happy as can be. Critescu says of Maya, “I don’t think they care how old they are, and I don’t think we should care either. I never see Maya as an old dog. I see her as a friend, an amazing colleague, and a wonderfully happy personality.”
We encourage everyone thinking of getting a pet to adopt instead of shop. Read more resources about adopting animals on One Green Planet, including 7 Reasons to Adopt Your Next Furry Best Friend, 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Adopt a Pet, and These Heartwarming Before and After Pictures of Adopted Rescue Animals Will Make Your Day! Read tips for pet adoptions and what to consider before adopting an animal. We recommend using these apps to find shelter dogs near you!
Sign this petition to demand that the government in Australia ban logging in koala habitats now!
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