A dog named Bear is saving koalas from wildfires in Australia

USA Today 3 weeks ago

As wildfires have scorched Australia and left thousands of koalas feared dead, Bear is looking for survivors.

An "obsessive" rescue dog with "tireless energy," Bear the dog has been aiding wildlife rescuers as they search for koalas threatened by the bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland, a wildlife rescuer group says.

Dubbed the "koala detection dog" by International Fund for Animal Welfare, Bear has been searching for koalas and other small animals that might have survived the flames.

Koalas are a "vulnerable" species, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The marsupials are also slow moving and live in eucalyptus trees that can ignite quickly, which makes them all the more vulnerable to wildfires, International Fund for Animal Welfare says. Many may have survived the flames but are stranded in scorched areas with access to food or water, the group says.

That's where Bear's work has already paid off.

He and his handler helped in rescue efforts Friday in Ngunya Jargoon, an Indigenous Protected Area that has seen two fires in the past month, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

About 20 to 40 koalas lived in the almost 2,500 acre area of woodlands before the fires, the group said. At least two have already been saved, and Bear's tracking work has indicated there are more still alive.

"Thanks to Bear’s work, we know that there are live koalas in the area and we will continue to search to rescue any koalas who need our help," Josey Sharrad with the International Fund for Animal Welfare said in a statement.

To protect Bear as he does his work, the herding dog mix wears protective red socks. Given his high energy, International Fund for Animal Welfare said he's a better detection dog than pet.

According to Reuters, about 2.5 million acres have been affected by the bushfires across Australia’s east coast in recent weeks. At least four people have died and hundreds of homes destroyed, the new agency reported.


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New York Post › 3 weeks ago
SYDNEY – An obsessive-compulsive dog who was abandoned as a puppy has a new mission: helping find and save koalas injured in Australia’s recent devastating bushfires. Bear, a Cattle Dog cross-breed, is trained to find both koalas and quolls...
The Independent › Lifestyle › 3 weeks ago
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Evening Standard › 1 month ago
Hundreds of Koalas are feared to have perished in wildfires, which have destroyed one of their prime habitats on Australia's east coast.
The New York Times › 3 weeks ago
An obsessive compulsive dog who was abandoned as a puppy has a new mission: helping find and save koalas injured in Australia's recent devastating bushfires.
Reuters › 3 weeks ago
An obsessive compulsive dog who was abandoned as a puppy has a new mission: helping find and save koalas injured in Australia's recent devastating bushfires.
Daily Mail Online › 1 week ago
The heartbreaking footage was released by Port Stephens Koalas, in the Hunter region of NSW, which has been caring for koalas from fires in Hillville, Old Bar, and Rainbow Flats.
The New York Times › 1 month ago
Conservationists fear hundreds of koalas have perished in wildfires that have razed prime habitat on Australia's east coast.
ABC News › 1 month ago
Conservationists fear hundreds of koalas have perished in wildfires that have razed prime habitat on Australia's east coast
Mirror Online › 3 weeks ago
Huge swathes of koala bear habitat have been destroyed in the bushfires currently ravaging New South Wales and Queensland in Australia - but Border Collie-Koolie cross Bear is on hand to help
Evening Standard › 3 weeks ago
A dog has been bravely saving koala bears from the bushfires in Australia.
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