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These Very Good Dogs Are Helping Rebuild Chilean Forests Destroyed By Wildfires

border collies

As climate change is causing wildfires to ravage parts of our planet—from Los Angeles to Australia—Chile likewise experienced the country’s worst wildfire season ever in 2017. More than 1.4 million acres of forest were destroyed, as well as nearly 1,500 homes. At least 11 people were also killed.

Bringing life back to the forests, which were left in charred remains, seems like a daunting task. However, a “unique team” was brought in to help restore the damaged ecosystem, and the best part is that they work for treats!

Francisca Torres, along with her sister Constanza, are the owners of three Border Collies that have been trained to run through the damaged forests, equipped with special backpacks that release native plant seeds. And the pups, six-year-old Das and her two daughters, Olivia and Summer, certainly seem up for the challenge.

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Día con el corazonzito lleno ❤️

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Francisca, told Treehugger, which is part of the Mother Nature Network, that the dogs absolutely “love” their newfound calling and for them, it’s just an excuse to have fun.

“It’s a country trip, where they can run as fast as they can and have a great time,” she said. “We come out with the dogs and the backpacks full of native seeds, and they run for the burned forest spreading the seeds.”

“We have seen many results in flora and fauna coming back to the burned forest!” adds Torres. When not racing her dogs through the forest, Torres also trains assistance dogs and runs a dog-oriented environmental community called Pewos.

As it turns out, Border Collies are actually the perfect breed of dog for such a mission, as “bounding through miles of forest terrain requires not only speed, intelligence, and endurance, but also a willingness to stay focused and not get distracted by wildlife.” And because the dogs were bred to herd sheep, they’re less likely to chase after or injure any other animals they might encounter.

The three Border Collies are able to cover up to 18 miles a day spreading over 20 pounds of seeds through the forest, depending on the terrain, whereas humans would only be able to do a few miles. Treehugger also points out that while robots or drones may also be able to efficiently distribute the seeds, not only do the dogs cost less but they also leave a lighter carbon footprint.

That’s win-win, all around. Let’s hear it for the pups!

Stacey Ritzen

Written by Stacey Ritzen