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How a hero dog called Bear is saving koalas

How a hero dog called Bear is saving koalas

Meet Bear, the Border Collie who's helping to save the koalas injured in the Australian wildfires.

How a hero dog called Bear is saving koalas

A dog that was found abandoned and ended up in a pound is being celebrated in Australia for his role in rescuing koalas which have survived the rampaging bushfires that have devastated  large tracts of bushland.

Aptly named Bear, the Border Collie-Coolie Cross was adopted from the pound by Sunshine Coast University and trained in his unique role to track koalas by smelling fur. He is now working with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) in an area ravaged by fires that has been declared safe to enter.

Images of Bear tracking injured, orphaned and sick koalas so they can receive help have been a welcome dose of the feel-good factor for Aussies immersed in the heart-wrenching reality of the deadly bushfires.

Wearing a jacket and ‘socks’ to protect his paws, Bear has the ideal characteristics for searching for the stricken marsupials. 

“He is highly focused and brilliant at focusing on one thing – his ball which is his reward, which makes him perfectly suited for the job. He also has zero prey drive which is essential for a wildlife detection dog as they need to focus purely on the scent, not on the animal,” according to a representative for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Bear was trained for research purposes but his amazing talent for tracking koalas and signalling where they are is offering hope for remaining koalas in areas of scorched bushland. 

Six-year-old Bear started his training when he was one year old. “He is high energy, obsessive, doesn’t like to be touched and is completely uninterested in people, which sadly means he doesn’t make the ideal family pet. But these qualities do make him a perfect candidate for a detection dog,” says the IFAW rep.

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