How Three Border Collies Are Helping Regrow the Forests of Chile

Border Collies have a lot of energy.

But that energy is necessary to run through 18 miles of fire-damaged forest a day.

2017 marked the worst wildfire season in Chilean history. More than 100 fires destroyed 41 homes, killed eleven people, and left more than 1.4 million acres of forest completely ravaged. The total damage will cost the country $333 million to rebuild but six-year-old Border Collie Das and her two two-year-old puppies Summer and Olivia are helping with the forest regeneration.

The three dogs, trained by Francisca Torres and her sister Constanza, carry 20 pounds of native seeds in dog backpacks. They are then let loose to literally spread seed to help plant new trees and other flora and fauna throughout the charred forest.

The dogs are experts at herding, which helps with their concentration and they are less likely to get distracted by other small animals slowly returning to the forest. The dogs are rewarded with treats when they return to their handlers to fill their packs with more seeds when they run out.

Francisca Torres told Mother Nature Network:

"They reeeeeally love [it]!! It's a country trip, where they can run as fast as they can and have a great time...We have seen many results in flora and fauna coming back to the burned forest!"

The Torres sisters started the regeneration project in March of 2017 and hope to make more trips to the forest in the spring. They have already made trips to 15 different forests since the awful fires. In their downtime, the sisters and their dogs are busy with their dog training business Pewos, which is also a community dedicated towards preserving the environment.

Das, Summer, and Olivia train year-round for their seed-spreading business by herding sheep, and competing in obedience and disc training competitions. But they're just waiting until they can once again help regrow Chile's beautiful forests!

Follow Summer the Border Collie on Instagram to see the good ecological work she is doing. And keep in touch with Pewos on Facebook to see some more hardworking pups.

What do you think of this creative initiative? Tell us in the comments below!

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