Australia wildfire search dogs
Many people have come together to help both fellow humans and animals as bushfires rage across Australia’s forests and lands, burning animals’ natural habitats and citizens’ houses to the ground – unfortunately, the destruction is only getting worse.
In the sea of helping hands from around the globe, there are some ‘helping paws’ too.
Meet Bear, a 6-year-old Collie-Koolie mix, who has been a great help in finding injured koalas and quolls after forests were burned down in New South Wales.
Image credit: @weratedogs
Bear is a part of the Detection Dogs for Conservation Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Here, dogs are trained to find live koalas by the scent of their fur.
Before joining the centre, Bear was abandoned as a puppy because he was diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), making him unsuitable pet. But his energetic and obsessive nature made him perfect for this job.
Bear is all geared up for the job
Image credit: @weratedogs
Bear isn’t not the only furry rescuer
Image credit: @action4ifaw
As mentioned, there’s a team of dogs that were specifically trained for this searching job. 2019 was the first time Bear’s squad got to work with International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and went out on the fields. Together, they’ve saved many koalas since the fires broke out.
You can also donate what you can on their website to support Bear and his friends, as well as helping injured animals in Australia.
Any help is crucial and welcome
A koala being treated for burns
Image credit: Vox
In New South Wales alone, around 30% of the koala population has been killed by bushfires – both directly and due to their habitats being destroyed.
Because of their slow-moving nature, many koalas can’t escape from the destructive fires in time. They often climb up onto eucalyptus treetops when they sense the danger, only making them more vulnerable to fire – not to mention that eucalyptus trees can quickly catch fire due to its high oil content.
While some koalas may have survived the fire, they’re often badly burned. Also, the trees’ height makes it difficult for human rescuers to spot them. So with dogs’ highly-sensitive senses and skill, the rescue team can better find the injured koalas.
In this time of crisis, it takes more than humans to overcome the difficulties. Thank you Bear and friends – you’re more than just man’s best friends, you’re everyone’s best friends.
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