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Wisconsin Nature Preserve Hires Invasive Species Sniffer, Tilia the Chocolate Lab

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Staff at the Mequon Nature Preserve in Wisconsin have a new weapon in the war against invasive species – a chocolate Lab named Tilia!

Invasive Species

Dogs are well known for their incredible olfactory abilities. They’ve long been partnered with military and police to sniff out bombs, drugs, and paraphernalia; and saved human lives by sniffing out cancer, detecting dangerous blood sugar levels, and sensing seizures before they happen.

Now, one very special chocolate Labrador named Tilia has become Wisconsin’s first canine conservationist!

Tilia is trained to detect invasive plant species at the Mequon Nature Preserve. From Teasel to Wild Parsnip and other invasive species in between, Tilia doesn’t spot them by sight like her human counterparts do. She sniffs them out!

“Oh gosh, every nature center, every DNR agent, everyone working in this field, in this discipline, they’re going to have a dog right by their side. Because a person’s going to be able to sight it and see some, but that dog is smelling the roots, it’s smelling the seeds, it’s smelling where it’s spreading.  It’s incredible,”Kristin Gies, Mequon Nature Preserve’s executive director told TMJ4.

Gies says Tilia’s ability to “see” what humans simply can’t means she, and other dogs trained to sniff and alert to invasive species, are making a huge contribution to conservation.

But don’t worry! When Tilia isn’t busy saving the preserve from invasive species, she has plenty of down-time to just be a dog! And, this lucky pup gets plenty of time to meet-and-greet her adoring fans, too!


Hey! Smooches?!😘

A post shared by Tilia – Mequon Nature Preserve (@tilia_mnp) on

Fascinated by your dog’s ability to sniff? You’ll love these stories about dogs and their amazing schnozz’s!

• Did you know it was a specially-trained electronics-sniffing dog that ultimately nabbed Jared the Subway guy?

• Or that there’s a canine marine biologist that’s using his nose to save the whales?

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