By Jack Williams
This enthusiastic Labrador is a real-life SCUBA DOO, as she dives into the world’s oceans to retrieve the likes of discarded plastic.
Eco-friendly Lila, six, was originally trained to dive for lobsters, but she has since brought her talents to a more environmentally-friendly cause.
Trained by her owner, Alex Schultz, the co-founder of 4ocean, an ocean clean-up group, Lila initially honed her skills in Alex’s swimming pool.
Now, however, she walks along the beach and picks up plastic with her owner before boarding his boat to head out on the open waters.
Once there, Lila flings herself into the water to collect plastic she has spotted – sometimes diving down to the seabed to collect such items.
Alex, whose organisation started in Boca Raton, Florida, USA, said: “I always had a pool in the backyard and Lila loved to swim.
“I slowly trained her to dive down to retrieve toys at the bottom of the pool.
“Sometimes I used plastic bottles that were filled with rocks.
“While we were doing a beach cleanup, she started picking up different bottles, following my lead.
“I immediately thought, ‘wow, we need to film this’, as she was a natural.”
By witnessing Lila’s enthusiasm to head out on a boat with Alex and plunge into the surrounding waters, Alex hopes the public take on a simple message: If she can do it, anyone can.
In the past, he added, passengers on surrounding boats have stopped in amazement and simply watch while Lila has gone to work.
4ocean’s long-term goal is to be to bring cleanup initiatives all around the world and effectively reduce and stop single-use plastic, as wells other forms of plastic, from entering the ocean.
Since they began, the organisation has expanded to include facilities in Haiti and Bali, and Alex encourages getting involved in local cleanup campaigns and changing habitats.
Alex said: “Picking up plastic and keeping the beaches and coastlines clean is not a hard task.
“I think that if the right people are involved then it can be a fun activity.
“For example, Lila and I will turn it into kind of a training or fun project.
“If I grab that leash Lila is fired up.
“She knows we’re going to the beach.”