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Saving primates with a dog and scat

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12:04pm, August 10, 2012

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Joseph Orkin has found an unusual way to study highly endangered — and highly elusive — primates in southwestern China. Orkin hikes into isolated mountaintop forests accompanied by a four-legged assistant who avidly sniffs out scat left by black-crested gibbons and Phayre’s leaf monkeys.

Orkin’s fuzzy-faced helper answers to the name Pinkerton (like the detective agency). A Belgian Malinois with that dog breed’s characteristic high-energy smarts, Pinkerton has been trained to recognize the odor of poop from the two threatened primate species. Orkin follows Pinkerton through the forest, and Pinkerton follows his nose to droppings hidden in the underg

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