Bear, a Border Collie-Koolie cross has been at the forefront in efforts to save the endangered koala bears from the devastating bush-fire ravaging areas around Queensland and New South Wales. Volunteers saved Bear, the rescue dog after his owners abandoned him. He is the only dog who can detect koalas, at risk from the overwhelming fire. He has the unique ability to detect them by smelling out the lovable and gentle marsupials. Bear can also sniff out koalas through their most tell-tale sign, their feces. He is a “koala detection dog” and uses his sharp sense of smell to sniff out any trapped koalas and help the rescue teams save them.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has said that Bear is helping them out in Northern Rivers, a region in New South Wales. The fire has killed many koalas and left many more orphaned and injured. The fire that ravaged through the Port Macquarie region killed over 350 koalas and also destroyed the habitat of the largest koala population in the state. The blaze incinerated most animals. Rescuers managed to take only 16 injured koalas to Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie for treatment. Rescuers fear that many more will die from starvation and dehydration, reports new.com.au. The fire also killed 6 people and destroyed around 530 homes.

Wearing special socks to guard his paws against the still smoldering ground, Bear, the rescue dog is fighting it out in Queensland and New South Wales. Firemen deployed him this week in Cooroibah, a locality in the Shire of Noosa.

Bear, the rescue dog

Bear, the rescue dog, sits still when he detects a koala and this allows the fire-fighters with him to rescue the koalas. This brave dog was successful in detecting the presence of koalas in Ngunya Jargoon. It is an indigenous protected area of New South Wales. Tragically, high winds prevented their exact location. But his efforts have brought some relief to firemen and conservationists because it proved that some koalas have managed to survive the terrible fire.

IFAW, the animal charity released his on-duty pictures. They posted that unfortunately, they haven’t been able to detect any koalas. But they remain hopeful they will find survivors in the surrounding areas.

Bear rescues koalas

Bear has a sad past behind him when he was forsaken because he has obsessive-compulsive disorder. It means that he dislikes playing. Sunshine Coast University rescued him from a dog pound and trained him to rescue koalas. He is based there at present.

Bear, the rescue dog’s job is extremely important, said IFAW Wildlife Campaigner Josey Sharrah. It is vital to save the koalas right at the beginning of the bushfire period as the fires might rage over weeks and even months, they fear. IFAW is providing aid to those rescuing the burned koalas, wallabies, and possums. You can help IFAW in their efforts.

rescue dog

It will be a long time before the areas reach any semblance of normalcy. An injured koala, named Flash rescued from New South Wales has such extensive burns that doctors could treat the animal only after sedating him. Some pieces of good news came through when firefighters were seen giving water to a couple of rescued koalas.

A firefighter from Brisbane, Lester Miles spotted the two koalas amidst the devastating blaze raging on for over a week at Queensland. This incident took place in the Spicers Gap pass in Maryvale.

The koalas would have met certain death if the fire-fighter had not spotted them. They were trapped with flames raging all around them, they revealed. The firefighters themselves had to risk their lives as burning trees were falling all around. But tragically the koalas later succumbed to their injuries.

rescued

Record-breaking temperatures this spring have fanned devastating bushfires across the country quite early in the season. The Northern Rivers koalas are already in danger from extensive drought in the region, uncontrolled land clearing, and unplanned development. Other issues like car strikes and dog attacks and even stress-related diseases are killing the koalas. These gentle animals are in real danger and need to be saved now more than ever. It is the gallant firemen and brave canines like Bear, the rescue dog who have been at the forefront of these heroic efforts.

Images: IFAW