Why is our work important?
Sea turtles are an important part of the ocean’s ecosystem but threats to their environments have pushed some, like the Kemp’s ridley and hawkbill to the brink of extinction. In an effort to increase endangered sea turtle populations, teams of conservationists carefully remove eggs from sea turtle nests, transport them to their facility, and incubate the eggs in a protected environment. Removing the eggs from the nest protects them from predators and other hazards such as vehicle traffic on the beach. Once the eggs hatch, these conservationists take them to beach and release them into the ocean while protecting them from predators such as seagulls to further increase their survival rates.
Unfortunately, the Coastal Bend region is very large and the nests must be found quickly before the visual signs are covered up by the blowing sand and inclement weather. Some nests are missed each year and the eggs fall victim to predation, or the turtles hatch without the benefit human protection and many hatchlings never make it to the water.
How do we help?
To help ensure a greater number of surviving hatchlings make it to the ocean, K9s 4 Conservation will train and deploy two sea turtle nest detection dogs to the Coastal Bend region of Texas. Not only do detection dogs cover more area than their human counterparts, but they also do not require visual signs of a nest as the dogs can smell the eggs even when they are buried in the sand.
The detection dogs will be worked along the shoreline everyday with one resting while the other works so they do not get too tired. When they indicate a sea turtle nest, the location will be flagged and the GPS coordinates called in to the sea turtle conservation team so that they can rush out and rescue the eggs from the unprotected nest.
The dogs will also be used to pinpoint nest locations when a nest is suspected, but the exact location is unknown. This will greatly speed the recovery process as the dog can find the exact spot much faster with its nose than a team of humans using sand probes.
What is our timeline?
We have begun training the dogs already in order to deploy them at the end of the sea turtle nesting season of 2018. During the off-season, the dogs will live with their handler in San Marcos, TX and continue their training so they are ready for the start of sea turtle nesting season in May 2019. Starting in May 2019, the dogs will relocate to Corpus Christi for the entire summer in order to provide detection K9 support throughout the majority of the nesting season for the Kemp's ridley, green, and loggerhead sea turtles!
The president, primary handler, and trainer is Christian Fritz, a PhD student at Texas State University with more than five years dog training and detection dog handling experience. The two stars of the show are our Conservation dogs. Saul is a 4 year old German Shepherd that was adopted from a the Idaho Domestic Animal Welfare Group (IDAWG) and initially trained and certified as a search and rescue dog, but is taking incredibly well to the conservation training already. We are incredibly lucky to have found our newest dog, Dasha, already! She is a 4 year old Belgian Malinois with incredible drive, but too sweet a personality for police work. Perfect for saving turtles though! Two dogs will be necessary so that one dog can work while the other rests since the climate, conditions, and size of the area would make it too difficult for one dog alone to cover. They will undergo three months of training to bring them up to speed on their tasks and will deploy at the end of the nesting season in 2018.
Lambda Xi Delta
The wonderful ladies of the Lambda Xi Delta chapter at Texas State University heard about K9s 4 Conservation and immediately offered to help in any way they can. From fundraising to social media support and even help training the dogs, these ladies are on it! We honestly don't know where we would be without them!
Jon Ickes Studios
Jon Ickes is an incredibly talented graphic designer, artist, and animator based out of the Denver, CO area. He created our logo and is working on several other graphics projects for us! I highly recommend you check out his site www.jonickes.com and check out his services for any of your graphic design needs!
National Park Service
The National Park Service has been very helpful in educating us on the turtles, their nesting behavior, and proper protocol should we locate one. We looking forward to assisting them in their turtle conservation efforts on North Padre Island, Texas.
Silver Raye German Shepherds
Silver Raye not only produces some incredible "rare" color German Shepherds, but they were the very first to donate to K9s 4 Conservation!
If you are looking for a beautiful, healthy, well mannered German Shepherd, consider Silver Raye! Check them out on FB at
Wild Horse Distillery
Wild Horse Distillery is a brand new Texas company that makes THE BEST rum, including their "Texas Rum" which is aged in whiskey barrels to give it an AMAZING flavor! They like to keep things as "Texas" as possible by supporting other local Texas businesses. The owners are strong supporters of wildlife conservation efforts around the world and graciously donated to K9s 4 Conservation!
K9s 4 Conservation Gear
Buy Cool Stuff, Save Sea Turtles!
COMING SOON! Ran into some problems manufacturing, so these will still be a while yet. Keep checking back!
Contact K9s 4 Conservation
San Marcos, TX, USA