Meet Bear: The Koala-Sniffing Dog That’s On A Mission To Save Animals From Australia’s Bushfires
Dogs can be trained to do amazing things, including sniffing out koalas in the wild to rescue them from bushfires taking place in Australia.
Bear is a cross between a border collie and koolie who was trained to sniff out live koalas. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says that his unique skills are being used during the rescue operations in New South Wales Northern Rivers region.
“IFAW specifically sponsors koala detection dog Bear, but there are other dogs which the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland works with, some of which are trained to sniff for koala droppings, whereas Bear is trained to sniff out koala fur and identify where there are live koalas,” IFAW spokeswoman Clare Sterling told CNN.
So far, Bear has caught the scent of life koalas in the Ngunya Jargoon, an Indigenous Protected Area. Up to 40 koalas called that protected area home before 85% of the 1000 hectares was destroyed by wildfires as was reported on a recent IFAW Facebook post.
Australia wildfire update: We recently joined Friends of the Koala Inc. and Bear, our koala detection dog, along with…
“Bear indicated there are definitely live koalas in the area, which is promising,” read the post.
According to CNN, Sterling said that Bear is a rescue dog with lots of energy, so he is the perfect candidate for a detection dog.
“As a young, intelligent and high-energy dog, his energy made him less suitable as a pet and had led him to be put up for adoption again by early owners. So training him as a koala detection dog also gives him a secure future,” Sterling said.
Taylor is another detection dog who assisted in finding 8 koalas, including a mother and joey. It took place while Taylor was deployed for three days in Port Macquarie according to Ryan and Jennifer Tate from Tate Animal Training Enterprises.
“On three occasions she sat right beneath live animals, (including a mum and joey), and then in many other instances she would alert us to fresh scat (animal feces) and we would notify the expert koala spotters who would then survey the canopy to spot the survivors,” they said in a Facebook post.
For months now Port Macquarie has been getting hammered by bush fires.Taylor and Ryan have managed to get out for a…
Taylor, A 4-year-old Springer spaniel has been a professional conservation dog for three years. He has been finding various native animals, including koalas.
“Recently with the fire situation in Australia we have been helping the Koala Hospital and Port Macquarie council locate injured or distressed koalas on the fringes of these bush fires and relocate them to safe areas or bring them into the hospital for treatment,” the Ryans said.
Animal experts fear that over 350 koalas were killed by bushfires in New South Wales.