• About Mekong tigers

    Follow WWF researchers as they track endangered tigers across the Greater Mekong, the world's largest tiger territory covering Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Read more

In the spotlight!

Yeah! Another cell (area of land being covered by the dogs for scat) successfully completed! Thanks to WWF’s GIS man, Ratanak, we had great maps helping us to move around a cell in the best areas possible.

Now we are off to Mereuch to meet with WWF donors and the press! We are definitely excited and nervous! Five international press agencies will join us at Mereuch for a taste of what we do with Scooby and Sadie in the field….

Film day!! Yikes! Jen, Liz, Vong, Oudom and the dogs are interviewed on camera! The dogs did a fantastic job, smiling perfectly for the camera and loving all of the attention. Liz and Jen pulled through and the Cambodian handlers did a great job.

Scooby, Jen and Vong even found a scat for the film crews! Scooby was watching Jen and Vong looking “proud as a peafowl!”

Vong, Jen and Sadie describe their work for the cameras.

Checking-in to Choul Outpost

Today, the Dog Team headed out to Choul Outpost in the northwest corner of Mondulkiri Protected Forest.  And little did we know the adventure we were in for! Jen and Scooby ran into Elds deer while surveying a drainage, meanwhile, Liz and Scooby walked into a fishing camp, a herd of cattle and a couple of water buffalo!

That night at Choul came with a little more than we bargained for. As Jen and I were settling down for the evening, eating cookies and contemplating life, we saw in the black of the night a light in the distance. After staring for several minutes, we finally realized it was flashlight. Could this be poachers, loggers or axe murderers (our imaginations were running a little wild)?! We altered the rangers and they set off in pursuit but unfortunately they didn’t find anyone that night.

This water buffalo was caught on camera trap in Mondulkiri

Can you spot the Eld's deer?

Encounter with King Cobra

Sadie and I were in some great looking habitat (big shady trees, hidden waterholes) but before I knew it she had her tail between her legs and was stopped dead, looking at something on the ground.  I noticed a very large scaly tail by my feet and told her to come. Of course, she had spooked a King Cobra causing it to rear up! Sadie made it safely back to me and Vong (my Cambodian orienteer for the day), and with shaking hands I managed to take a picture after a couple of tries.

Scooby had a record scat day! 24 detections found along low use roads and a dry drainage!! We think they are all leopard but everything counts.  Scooby, while cooling off in a water hole, scared off an otter and a fishing owl.

Sadie found a King cobra!

Training the trainers for tiger searches

Training begins for the Cambodian handlers! They worked on saying commands such as “Sit,” walking the dogs on leash in a heel position and even worked the dogs on small sit exercises!  A sit exercise is a training exercise in which the dogs are told to sit at scats placed out for them to locate.  This trains the dogs to sit when doing field work, allowing the handler to recognize when a sample is detected.  It is also a great way for Vong and Oudom to earn the dog’s trust and love because they get to play ball!  It was great fun for all involved and the boys had good enthusiasm throughout the day.

Jen and Vong in the field with Scooby. Jen rewards Scooby with ball play after he discovered a scat!

Oudom training with Scooby

Vong, Dua and Sadie have a laugh

First encounter with illegal visitor presence

For our first camping trip, the gear came in on motorbikes and the canine crew hiked 11km to a camp beside a river.Liz and Sadie saw a Douc monkey, Guar tracks and scat and banteng bones.  Jennifer and Scooby came across fresh campsites from illegal visitors. Sadie also came across 2 leopard scrapes on the road and boy did we understand the meaning of tick bombs!!

On the hikeback to Mereuch, Liz and Jennifer, with Sadie and Scooby, had a small detour through very painful thorns (had to get on our hands and knees to make it through some extra thick areas) but thanks to the Garmin Foretrex GPS we made it safely to the base camp at Mereuch.

The team's four modes of transport

Sadie - hotel security dog

Back from the first tiger treck

Yea! Made it back safely from the trek. Here are some of the highlights – Scooby and Sadie found a possible tiger scat! The dogs are definitely onto wild leopard scent; the dogs are slowly getting used to the idea of being around elephants; thankfully all the dogs did was bark; The crew introduced us to rice wine over a fish party and we learned how to play the Cambodian card game 13; Phew! It is hot out here! 35 degrees Celsius.  Thank goodness for the burn-in. The dogs love sleeping in hammocks!  (Scooby is obsessed).

Scooby 'chillin'

Large scat (poo)!

Getting ready for the first tiger tracking in Mereuch, Cambodia

Bird's eye view of Mondulkiri Protected Area

Mereuch is beautiful! It’s an incredible oasis in the middle of the dry forest and it’s nestled next to the Srepok river. Gorgeous!

The Vietnamese border is barely 20 km from our location.  The Cambodian handlers, Vong and Oudom, are great and training the dogs on wild scent has been moving along smoothly.

We head out for our 9 day, 50+ kilometer burn-in trek tomorrow and everyone is excited and ready to go, especially Sadie and Scooby.  The burn-in is the time at the beginning of every field study taken to acclimate the dogs to the new climate and get them zeroed in on the wild target scent, which for this study is Indochinese tiger and leopard.

The 'Dog Team' at Mereuch camp.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.