Fire Hounds

Dogs Help Restore Burnt Forests in Chile




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Forest fires in Chile ravaged vast swathes of land in 2017, burning sturdy older trees in the El Maule region. Since then, three border collies belonging to Francisca Torres, a member of the environmental nonprofit Pewos, have been wandering through the charred remains with special satchels that spray seeds as they run to sow seedlings, grass and flowers. A major goal is for animals that fled the fires to return. “The main thing is for the fauna to be able to live,” says Torres. She says the dogs, bred to herd sheep, are smart and fast, covering a much larger area than a human could on foot.


This article appears in the January 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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