25 June 2023
In an astonishing rediscovery, the dragon – a critically endangered and cryptic lizard that was presumed to be extinct – was recently found in grasslands in Victoria’s west after more than 50 years.
To ensure the conservation of this highly imperilled lizard, we need new methods to find any remaining populations in the grasslands of the Victorian Volcanic Plain.
The Victorian grassland earless dragon was recently rediscovered after more than 50 years. Photo: Peter Robertson, Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd.
Enter the Zoos Victoria Wildlife Detection Dog Squad. Specialist dog trainers and wildlife ecologists are training dogs on the lizard’s scent to see if the super-sniffing canines are successful in finding more populations of the dragon.
If they are, this could be a game-changer in the conservation of this and other imperilled Australian lizards and snakes.
This research is being co-led by Zoos Victoria’s Threatened Species General Manager Garry Peterson and Threatened Species Program Coordinator Chris Hartnett.
Zoos Victoria Wildlife Detection Dogs (clockwise from top left) Finn, Kip, Moss and Daisy. Photos: Zoos Victoria.
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