Bruiser -- Retired 2010

Breed:
Labrador Retriever (Chocolate)

Began Working: 
February 2004

Acquired From: 
Private Donor

Bruiser was one of the senior dogs in the kennel -- a world traveler, during his career he worked on many different projects involving many species. 

Bruiser spent almost half of his career  working with Claudia Wultsch in Belize on the following project.  Due to an injury that ended his working career Bruiser was retired to Claudia in 2010.

Photo Courtesy of K. DeMatteo
Photo Courtesy of K. DeMatteo
Photo Courtesy of K. DeMatteo
Photo Courtesy of K. DeMatteo
Photo Courtesy of H. Smith
PREVIOUS PROJECTS
With Handler (Bats - New Mexico)
In desert during training (Kangaroo Rats)

Jaguars (Panthera onca) and other felids occurring in dense tropical forest habitat are extremely difficult to study by direct observation due to their cryptic (often nocturnal) nature and wide ranging behavior. The lack of information on such elusive species makes it difficult to provide for their conservation. This project will use scat detector dogs and molecular scatology to gain new information on jaguars and co-occurring felids (puma, ocelot, margay, and jaguarondi) across 5 study sites in Belize, Central America. Molecular scatology (genotyping species by feces) can be used to identify species and individuals, and determine genetic variation within and among study sites. In this study, I will estimate cat population densities via genetic capture-mark-recapture and remote camera trapping. I will also determine sex-ratios and genetic variation and differentiation within and among the sites. This study will furthermore (1) set up a protocol for locating, surveying, and genotyping feces of tropical cat species, (2) compare two promising noninvasive techniques for estimating population density for 5 co-occurring cat species and (3) determine if habitat fragmentation has lead to genetic differentiation (potentially loss of gene flow) across disconnected reserves. The results will be widely applicable to studies of elusive cat species around the world.
Vermont Forest Carnivore Study  June-August 2004
Fresno Kangaroo Rat Survey October-November 2004
Demo Dog - Wolf Conference, Colorado November 2005
New Mexico Bat Study June-July 2006
Photo Courtesy of C. Wultsch
Photo Courtesy of C. Wultsch
Photo Courtesy of C. Wultsch
Photo Courtesy of C. Wultsch
Out of the past two years Claudia and Bruiser have spent almost a full year in the field working together.  Claudia is hoping she and Bruiser will return to the field for a short project in 2010.
During 2010, in addition to completing Claudia's work on her Belize project, Bruiser worked in Vietnam with WWF doing population surveys of Javan rhinos.  He also went to Bhutan with Claudia at the invitation of the BBC to film a program about tigers and snow leopards.  Bruiser and Claudia are in the program.  After surgery to repair an injured "knee" on a rear leg, Bruiser is learning to be a pet dog and goes everywhere with Claudia.  He is loved and doing well.