Scientists are combing the backcountry of Ontario this winter scooping up samples of wolf and caribou scat, hoping the DNA-rich pellets will provide precious clues into the lives of these endangered species.
The collection is part of ongoing efforts to capture the important data far less invasively than by trapping or collaring the animals. Every winter for the past few years, scientists have flown by helicopter over parts of the province and landed where they have spotted certain tracks. They then follow the tracks on foot and bag the scat along the way. That way they can capture the samples they need without ever having to frighten or interact with the animals in any way.