Border Collies Help Owners Restore Chilean Forest After Devastating Forest Fire

By Paula Liu

Chile was hit with devastating forest fires at the beginning of 2017 that killed 11 people, displaced nearly 1,500 families and homes, and burnt down over 1,400,000 acres of forest.

In order to rebuild the charred forest, a woman came up with an idea to bring life back to the desolated forest.

Francisca Torres gathered up her team members, Das, Summer, and Olivia. Together, they were going to rebuild the forest.

However, her team was anything but ordinary—Das, Summer, and Olivia were Torres’s three dogs, and they had a special set of skills that made them perfect for the job.

For a period of six months, Das, a 6-year-old Border Collie, and her 2-year-old puppies, Summer and Olivia, would run wild throughout the Chilean forests with native seeds stuffed into special packs on their backs, which would spread all over the forest floor while they ran.

The dogs would get tons of treats during the process of running throughout the forest—usually when they run out of seeds in their backpacks when they were finished for the day. During the day, they would come back to Torres to have their packs filled and while waiting, they would be rewarded with treats.

Pewos 发布于 2017年4月20日周四

Torres told Mother Nature Network that the dogs loved running through the forest.

“It’s a country trip, where they can run as fast as they can and have a great time,” she said.

Mother Nature Network reported that Torres and her dogs began working on rebuilding the forest in March 2017, which was a little after the forest fires got put out, and for six months, they spread seeds through the forest.

Torres’s sister, Constanza, was also a part of the team, although she was only able to help out occasionally. It was the dogs that did most of the work. Torres’s sister would fill the backpacks, strap them onto the dogs, and then instruct them to run wild, as far and as fast as possible.

Both sisters were doing this out of their own volition, volunteering to restore the forest to its former state—Torres and her sister received no financial assistance whatsoever.

Torres and her sister paid for the seeds out of their own pocket, as well as the transportation costs for getting themselves and their dogs to and from the forest.

The job was perfect for the three dogs because not only did they have an endless amount of energy—more so than humans on foot—but they were also able to stay focused on the task they were given.

The three dogs were capable of covering over 18 miles of terrain, helping with spreading around 20 pounds of seed in just one day. Although some days were less or more productive than others, they were still able to cover a considerable amount of land.

Feliz dia madre tierra ❤️

Pewos 发布于 2017年5月14日周日

The three dogs had a lot of fun while helping to restore the forest. What her three dogs thought was playtime was actually helping to bring back some of that life from before the forest was devastated by the fires.

Over the course of their project duration, Torres noticed that their hard work had paid off, and life was beginning to slowly return to the charred forest once more.

“We have seen many results in flora and fauna coming back to the burned forest,” she said.

When asked why they chose the Border Collies to complete the task, Torres said those particular dogs were super smart.

Meanwhile, the dogs were given sheep-herding training, along with obedience and disc training. This keeps them focused on the task and helps them maintain self-control, so they don’t go off and chase or attack other animals in the forest.