Bear The Dog Has Saved More Than 100 Injured Koalas In Australia

By Anthony McLennan / Truth Theory

A five-year-old Australian koolie dog has assisted conservationists in rescuing more than 100 koalas since he began his job last November.

Bear is employed by the University of the Sunshine Coast’s (USC) ‘Detection Dogs for Conservation’ department.

Black Summer devastated Australia’s koala population

Known as ‘Black Summer’, Australia experienced massive destruction when bush fires raged from June 2019 until March 2020, peaking around December.

An estimated 186,000 square kilometres was burnt down, nearly 6000 buildings were destroyed, and a staggering one billion animals perished.

Included in that number are thought to be around 6,300 koalas killed in New South Wales; 15 percent of the state’s population.

Injured and starving koalas

Many koalas have been left injured and struggling to find food.

In order to rescue and rehabilitate these koalas, they first have to be found. Which is where Bear the dog has proved invaluable.

“We’re still finding animals that are struggling to find food. They’re on the edge of starvation,” Dr. Romane Cristescu, Bear’s handler, stated.

“If we find them, wildlife carers can plump them up. Their goal is to release them when and where they have a better chance of having food available to them.”

Drones are also used to spot koalas. After that, it’s down to Bear, as Dr. Cristescu explains:

“We give Bear his favourite command “Let’s go find!” and he is off and running. As Bear begins to smell fresh scats and urine, he knows he’s on track,” she said.

“We travel light with our team of three, including Bear himself, his handler and a koala spotter. While the handler’s eyes focus on Bear on the ground, the spotter scans the tree canopy.

“Finally, Bear will drop to the ground and refuse to budge, indicating to us that it’s time to scan the canopy above and find the koala.”

Bear’s natural high energy makes it challenging for him to be a domestic pet. Yet his personality is perfectly suited to his current job.

“When we look for a new dog, we put the word out to all the rescue groups because often what we look for in a dog makes them difficult pets,” Dr Cristescu explained. “So that high energy, obsession with playing.”

Check out more of Bear The Koala Detection Dog’s adventures on his Instagram page.

Read more: No Whale Hunting In Iceland Waters For The Second Consecutive Year

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