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Children's Nonfiction Dogs

Conservation Canines

How Dogs Work for the Environment

by (author) Isabelle Groc

foreword by Anjelica Huston

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Dogs, Environmental Conservation & Protection, Endangered
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
Recommended Reading age
9 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


★“Robust and engaging...Sure to be a hit with both children writing reports and those who enjoy books about animal companions and adventurous work. A must for school and public libraries.”—Booklist, starred review

With their precise sense of smell, their hardworking temperament and their ability to bond with humans, dogs increasingly lend their paws and noses to fixing some of the most complex environmental problems on the planet. What kinds of dogs does it take to help wildlife? What kind of training do they go through? Who are the people who work with these special dogs? What do those people do and what difference do they make for wildlife?
In Conservation Canines: How Dogs Work for the Environment, author Isabelle Groc shares stories of dog encounters in the field and examples of canines working to conserve wildlife. Meet brave Anatolian shepherd dogs protecting farmers' livestock against cheetah attacks and Maremma dogs guarding penguins from foxes. Learn how rescue dogs sniff out orca poop in the ocean and how highly focused canines can detect rare frogs hiding in wetland tunnels. The story of these conservation canines celebrates the profound and ancestral human–animal bond and gives hope and inspiration for finding new ways for people to successfully co-exist with wildlife.

About the authors

Isabelle Groc is a writer, wildlife photographer and filmmaker who specializes in wildlife conservation, endangered species and the relationships between people and wildlife in a rapidly changing world. With degrees in journalism from Columbia University and urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she brings a unique perspective to documenting the impacts of human activities on threatened species and habitats. Born in the South of France, with family roots in Spain, Isabelle now lives in Vancouver.


With the return of Sea Otters on the Pacific Coast, Isabelle has had the opportunity to witness an extraordinary ecological story unfold in her backyard of British Columbia for over ten years. She spent extended periods of time documenting sea otters and the coastal communities they influence.


Isabelle Groc's profile page

Anjelica Huston's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
  • Commended, The Nature Generation Green Earth Book Award - Honor Book
  • Commended, BC Books for BC Schools
  • Commended, Junior Library Guild (JLG) Gold Standard Selection

Editorial Reviews

★“Nonfiction for this age group frequently highlights working animals, but it doesn’t often focus on their conservation assistance, nor is it as comprehensively detailed as this robust and engaging title. Sure to be a hit with both children writing reports and those who enjoy books about animal companions and adventurous work. A must for school and public libraries.”

Booklist, starred review

“A beautiful book, filled with stunning images, on how our best friends are working to make the world a better place. Conservation Canines takes us from British Columbia to Namibia, following the work these incredible dogs and their human handlers are doing to guard some of our planet’s remaining wildlife. A joy to read for both children and adults.”

Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, authors of the New York Times bestseller <i>The Genius of Dogs</i>

“This book is a charmer, a must for people who love dogs and want to know how they impact our world. From detecting cheetah scat and guarding livestock in southern Africa, to protecting penguins in Australia and locating pods of orcas in the Pacific Northwest, to helping authorities identify shipments of illegally traded wildlife, the stories told in Conservation Canines demonstrate the breadth of intelligence inherent in the species across its many breeds. The beautiful photos stand as proof: these dogs are passionate about their work, and so are the people guiding them. A terrific testament to our amazing animal partners in conservation!”

Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and executive director of Cheetah Conservation Fund

“Will engage and inform. It is filled with interesting facts about the roles dogs play around the world in supporting our efforts to leave the planet a better place for future generations. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“A well-researched and balanced presentation on a pertinent, high-interest topic.”

Kirkus Reviews

“One theory is that our ancestors domesticated wolves and over time they became dogs. Another case can be made that wolves domesticated us. Certainly, they bring out the best in most of us, and through their work with conservationists, may one day help save us. An elegant and beautifully written book of wonder. Isabelle Groc offers us an unexpected view of dogs, helping us appreciate them even more than we already do.”

Richard Louv, author of <i>Our Wild Calling: How connecting with animals can transform our lives—and save theirs</i>

“Dogs' legendary noses are works of art, and the stories in this well-illustrated book will surely encourage children to look at the dogs in their own lives differently, with renewed curiosity and compassion. This is a win-win for all involved.”

Marc Bekoff, PhD, author of <i>Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do and Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible</i>

“Page after page of exceptional research along with interesting anecdotes and true stories...This book is invaluable for any library looking to update and amplify its collection about dogs. The pages feature exceptional photography from the author set alongside information which will inspire and ignite readers' interest in dogs, wildlife, and the environment.”

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