S.A Zoo helping to save Texas Horned Lizards
by Michael Hernandez
Tuesday, June 25th 2019
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SAN ANTONIO—Here’s a quick quiz:
Do you know what the state reptile of Texas is?
It’s the Horned Lizard.
But did you also know that they are on the threatened species list?
So when I was a little boy one of the things that enjoyed doing most was going out and playing in the dirt and looking for horny toads! Maybe some of you all can relate to that and enjoyed doing the same thing.
And whatever you call them, horned lizards, horned frogs or horney toads as we used to, they are in trouble!
Andy Gluesenkamp, Director of Conservation for S.A. Zoo explains, “We have a climate controlled laboratory where we’re rearing captive born horned lizards to re-introduce into the landscape in places where they’ve disappeared years ago.”
Two dozen baby Texas horned lizards, recently hatched at the zoo will be re-introduced into selected spots when they’re three months old.
“If everything goes right we’ll have clutches of eggs that start hatching anywhere from last week to October and those are the babies that we’re going to putting back into the landscape,” says Gluesenkamp.
But you can’t just place them anywhere, you have to find some already out there.
Gren is a Dutch Shepard and to helps find other horned lizards.
Paul Bunker, Owner Chiron K9 explains,” It’s all positive reinforcement. So basically what we do is we teach Gren that if she finds the odor of scat or eggs or horned lizards she’ll receive a toy, so to her it’s a huge game.”
And with the help of Gren, the zoo is hoping to be able to hatch and release 100 horned lizards a year for the next three years and if so who knows, maybe the next generation will be able to have the same memories that I treasure.
I was fortunate to attend a 16 hours Advanced K9 Medics course held in Pennsylvania. The course was theory and practical with a series of final assessments and a written exam.
I have completed K9 First Aid training before but what I like about this one was its no-nonsense life-saving skills taught. Enough to save a K9’s life, or at least keep it alive until professional assistance is reached.
The training was enhanced by the practical exercises and Techline Technologies ( https://www.techlinetechnologiesinc.com/ ) even had a K9 manikin which was remotely operated. It barked, growled and cried, would breathe, have a heartbeat, pulse, and open wounds, bleeding; all at the control of the instructor. This meant that as the scenario progressed the symptoms changed and tested your casualty awareness and response to the changing conditions. This training alone was of huge benefit as often time training is just one static scenario due to the availability of casualty stimulants. Being constantly tested in all aspects of casualty care meant you were provided realistic training scenarios and testing situations.
Understand and explain the differences between human and canine anatomy Understand and
Explain differences between human and canine physiology Demonstrate Knowledge of the phases of care as per the CoTCCC Demonstrate Knowledge of all aspects of Canine “MARCH”
Demonstrate the ability to safely approach and restrain canine using appropriate techniques
Demonstrate the ability to perform a neurological assessment on canine Identify canine IM injection sites
Understand the canine vascular system
Demonstrate the ability to perform an “On the move assessment” Demonstrate the ability to perform a head to tail assessment
Understand canine’s respiratory system
Demonstrate the ability to obtain canine respiration rate
Demonstrate the ability to obtain a canine pulse
Demonstrate the ability to evaluate canine circulation
Demonstrate the ability. to obtain canine temperature
Demonstrate the ability to evaluate canine’s hydration level
Demonstrate the ability to care for canine minor bleeding
Demonstrate the ability to treat canine thoracic chest trauma
Demonstrate the ability to treat massive hemorrhage in canine Demonstrate the ability to manage a.canine’s compromised airway Demonstrate the ability to perform canine CPR
Understand what bloat is and how it affects canine
Demonstrate the ability to treat canine for bloat
Demonstrate the ability to start intravenous access on canine
Demonstrate the ability to gain intravenous access on canine
Understand heat emergencies in canine
Understand concepts of Evaporation, Conduction, Convection, Radiation, and Activity in canines Demonstrate treatment of heat emergency in canine
Demonstrate appropriate treatment of ocular trauma
Demonstrate appropriate splinting of canine extremities
Understand analgesia considerations and dosages in canine
Understand clinical signs and treatment of toxic ingestion in canines
I am pleased to announce I have entered a lease agreement with Global Training Academy, Somerset, Texas and have established my own Canine Research Facility. As well as accessibility to 70 acres of training grounds, 30 search vehicles, 120 kennels, imprint buildings and a classroom I have also established specific locations for Chiron K9.
Canine Research Facility
This is a purpose-built research facility designed for the use in canine trials under the observation of scientists and data collectors. The facility includes a clean room with assisted fan extraction and air-conditioning. There is a separate room for target and distraction aid preparation and storage. There is a large observation area including an alcove for the use of video capture. The open space design, lighting, and power sockets means experiments and trials can be designed as needed with plenty of flexibility in function. With the addition of a fridge and freezer training aids requiring specific storage can be accommodated.
A specific piece of equipment is the Odor Carousel. Imported from the UK this device is specifically designed for specialized imprinting of canines. Made of medical-grade stainless steel it can be cleaned effectively and efficiently.
The carousel presents odors in a consistent manner for imprint training and desensitization to non-target odors. In a research trial, it offers the capability to present 12 odors, 1x target: 11x non-target with consistent repetition. The carousel additionally offers the option of 12x non-target presentations to ensure false positives are discounted.
- Dramatically speed up your training program.
- Consistently shapes dogs in a fast way.
- Desensitizes non-target objects.
- Increases focus on the target odor.
- Presents a moving target if needed
- Increase the number of choices.
- The probability of hitting the same target 3 times consecutively is 1700: 1 using a 12-arm.
- It’s height-adjustable to suit medium to large dogs.
- Multiple uses with interchangeable stainless steel arms that can be changed for vapor systems, biomedical, universal tubes and sealed containers.
Sub-Surface Odor Grid
Originally designed and constructed for sub-surface detection of oil this area can be utilized for a variety of targets. The area contains 50 vertical tubes ranging between 2-3ft (5x 3ft, 54x 2 ft) 2″ in diameter. The pre-position tubes have naturalized in the environment and can be “loaded” with 1 3/4″ tubes containing soil and soil with targets. This allows the canine to be imprinted on aged sub-surface targets down to 3ft in a variety of configurations. Additionally, there is over an acres area adjacent which can be utilized for training/trials or as part of a search before encountering a sub-surface target in the odor grid.
I am pleased to announce that Chiron K9 was awarded a Department of Interior award for innovation.
A total of 294 teams from around the world submitted potential solutions to a Department of Interior request for assistance. Chiron K9’s proposed solution was selected as an award winner.
At this stage, the proposal is undergoing evaluation for field trials and once they are completed I will be in a position to elaborate on the innovation award.
I am pleased to have been selected in what was a very challenging solicitation opportunity.
This award underlines Chiron K9’s motto:
“Success Through Innovation”
The Transport Security Administration created the Third-Party Canine-Cargo (3PK9-C) Program, under TSA’s regulations for Certified Cargo Screening Programs (CSSP), to provide an efficient and effective method for screening air cargo to TSA’s standards. Under this program, third-party canine teams trained in explosives detection can be certified by a non-governmental entity, acting under the approval of TSA, as meeting TSA’s certification standards. Certified 3PK9-C teams can be deployed to screen air cargo for aircraft operators, foreign air carriers, and other TSA-regulated parties operating under a TSA-approved or accepted security program.
I am pleased to announce that having successfully completed a pre-screening process to include security, experience and knowledge areas I attended a 4-day orientation event at the TSA’s Canine Training Center, Lackland, Texas. Following successfully being provisionally approved as a certification official I conducted an event at the Cargo Screening K9 Alliance’s facility in Anniston, Alabama. 7 teams were presented at the event and under the observation of a TSA representative, I conducted the certification to standard and within scope and parameters.
I am proud to have teamed with Spectrum Canine Solutions as the certifications provider. They have a strong work ethic doing the right thing for the right reasons. I believe the combination of Chiron K9 and Spectrum Canine Solutions provides clients a flexible and quality solution to their 3rd Party Canine Cargo Screening requirements.
The observation by a TSA representative completed the initial phase of certifier approval requirements and I was authorized to conduct certification events for 12 months. Having completed recertification by the TSA I am authorized to conduct certification until November 2020.
Please contact me directly if we can support your canine cargo screening requirements.