After Fatal Disease Arrives, St. Louis Zoo Calls in the Only Team of Turtle-sniffing Dogs in the World to Help Out

In order to preserve a species threatened by an infectious disease, Saint Louis Zoo scientists have hired an elite team of sleuths—turtle-hunting dogs.

John Rucker with 7 Boykin spaniels tracking box turtles – Saint Louis Zoo

Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park is a 425-acre site christened last year to be used as part of the zoo’s extensive conservation programming. Last week, seven Boykin spaniels began sniffing for three-toed box turtles, a species that has been in decline due to development—but, recently, due to an emerging pathogen called Ranavirus.

Not much is known about the disease. It affects turtles, fish, and amphibians, but is particularly fatal in box turtles—about 80% fatal.

That’s why the zoo called the man…

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