Florida sea turtle egg sniffing dog steals hearts

The Disney Parks Blog posted an article about the cutest and most helpful dog in Florida. 

Meet Captain Ron, a 2-year-old pocket beagle who is full of energy and warmly greets everyone he meets. He’s not shy about jumping up to lick you.

But he is not just cute and cuddly—Captain Ron has a greater purpose in life. He helps protect sea turtles! 

Captain Ron has been specially trained to find eggs in fresh sea turtle nests. With his super-sensitive nose, he can sniff out the thin layer of clear mucus left on eggs buried in the beach. 

This detection skill helps us find eggs and mark nests so they can remain undisturbed on our beaches. We are so happy to have Captain Ron on our sea turtle conservation team! Sea turtle nests are vulnerable to many threats on the beach, and if we can’t detect the eggs, we can’t protect them from predators and disturbance.

To a person, a sea turtle nest looks like a big pile of sand on the beach. We can look at that sand to visually judge where a turtle has buried her eggs, but a dog can scan that same nest with his nose. A good nose can take in essential cues that remain even when the visual signs are obscured and cut egg-finding times from 30 minutes to about 30 seconds.

Pepe Peruyero, Captain Ron’s trainer, believes that Captain Ron really enjoys his work. Watching Captain Ron on the beach, we could not agree more! What a wonderful balance between conservation work and outreach for sea turtles! 

While he’s on the job, Captain Ron allows guests the unique experience of seeing conservation efforts up close. In the off season, he can work as an ambassador for conservation, serving as a bridge between people and the natural world we are striving so hard to protect. 


 

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