In attempts to monitor one of the ACT's most endangered species, Parks and Conservation staff have resorted to using a new state-of-the-art tool.
It also happens to have four legs, a tail and a remarkable sense of smell.
Tommy the springer spaniel is a conservation dog and will keep track of endangered grassland earless dragons in the Jerrabomberra valley.
As part of a pilot program, Tommy will be used to gauge a more accurate number of the earless dragon population in the area.
Current population checks for the species involve four conservation staff conducting checks by sight, however Tommy is able to find where the dragons are in under a minute in a half a hectare area.
His handler Steve Austin said while Tommy had been previously used to detect other animals such as feral cats and foxes, learning how to find an endangered species presented a greater challenge.
"We started Tommy off by getting used to some dragon droppings from those in captivity and trained him on that before we brought him down [to Canberra] for live finds," Mr Austin said.
"The endangered species are a lot more difficult, simply because of the fact there's not a lot around, which is why we only had droppings to train on."
As part of Tommy's 13 weeks of training, Mr Austin said the dog was trained not to go after the species once they were found.
"It's all a passive response and they're trained not to engage with them or touch them," he said.
"He's trained to put his nose near the burrows, which indicates there's a dragon there."
Tommy will be used for a trial over the course of a week, and if successful, conservation dogs will be used on a permanent basis to help keep track of the endangered species.
The grassland earless dragon was declared an endangered species in 1996, only living in areas around Jerrabomberra and Cooma.
ACT Parks and Conservation ecologist Thea O'Loughlin said it would normally take hundreds of hours to find the species without the use of dogs.
"This has been one of our most challenging years because it's been the least amount of dragons for a long time, which is quite a concern," Mrs O'Loughlin said.
"Staff have been out there every second day using torches and relying on our eyesight and that's a limitation because we can only see so far, and when the grass is high it can be hard."
After many trials of methods to more accurately track the species, Mrs O'Loughlin said Tommy the conservation dog would be the best bet.
"Using Tommy would save a huge amount of staff resources," she said.
"If we can incorporate a dog program, it would be another resource we could to manage the dragons.
"We have to use everything we can to protect them."