Pups Plant Forests


BORN TO RUN: Border collies were bred as sheepherding dogs. A trio in Chile puts their athleticism to use planting seeds, which fall from the dog’s pack as it runs.

Earlier this year, wildfires destroyed more than 1,800 square miles of forest in central Chile. Now the devastated areas are on the rebound thanks to the efforts of local volunteers Francisca and Constanza Torres and their three border collies: Das, Summer, and Olivia. The dogs are on a mission to replant damaged forest.

Their owners load mesh backpacks with seeds. The dogs carry the packs, releasing seeds that fall through the mesh fabric as the pups scamper around the barren areas. The dogs are trained not to disturb wildlife and barely realize they’re working as they explore the hills, says Francisca.

The pups can each cover about 30 kilometers (19 miles) per day. Their efforts are paying off. “We’re already seeing plants, insects, and birds returning to the areas we’ve treated,” says Francisca.