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  • Rogue, a 4-year-old Belgian sheepdog, was one of three dogs trained to sniff out a rare native plant, Kincaid’s lupine. © Jen Newlin Bell/TNC
  • Less than 2 percent of upland prairie and oak habitat remain in the Willamette Valley, where the threatened Kincaid’s lupine is found. © Jen Newlin Bell/TNC
  • Kincaid’s lupine grows in the last remnant of prairie, often along craggy ridges and in rough terrain. Finding it can be difficult, time-consuming and costly. © Jen Newlin Bell/TNC
  • The endangered Fender’s blue butterfly alights atop its host plant, Kincaid’s lupine. Fender’s blue was thought to be extinct for 50 years until it was rediscovered in 1989. © Matthew Benotsch/TNC
  • Dave Vesely is an Oregon wildlife ecologist and Rogue’s handler. Detection dogs could potentially increase speed and accuracy for native plant inventory work. © Jen Newlin Bell/TNC
  • Rogue, Dave Vesely and Deborah Smith of Working Dogs for Conservation Foundation test the accuracy of the dogs by working them through various transects and tracking the results. © Working Dogs for Conservation Foundation
  • A female Fender’s blue butterfly on Kincaid’s lupine at the Conservancy’s Willow Creek Preserve in Oregon. Willow Creek was one of the test sites for the dog work this summer. © Matthew Benotsch/TNC
  • A Fender’s blue butterfly lays a single, tiny egg on the underside of a lupine leaflet. Finding the eggs is tedious work. Researchers are hopeful that the dogs can be trained to differentiate a Kincaid’s lupine plant with a butterfly egg on it and one without. © Jen Newlin Bell/TNC
The Nature Conservancy in Oregon
Tracking Native Plants with a Dog's Nose

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