A brave dog called Bear has been hailed a hero for helping firefighters save injured and orphaned koalas from the bushfires sweeping across Australia.
The Border Collie-Koolie cross is said to be the only dog in the world who can use his nose to find koala faeces and fur.
Bear wore socks to protect his paws and headed off into safe burnt-out areas, where he sits very still to alert his handler a koala is nearby.
He is currently deployed in New South Wales and Queensland, and will also head to one of the worst affected areas, Cooroibah, north of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.
Aussie animal charity the International Fund for Animal Welfare shared photos of Bear in action on a post reading:
Unfortunately no signs of koalas were found, but we are hopeful that survivors will be found in nearby areas.
Bear had originally been rescued from a pound because he has obsessive compulsive disorder meaning he doesn’t like to play, but fortunately he was rescued by Sunshine Coast University, where he was trained to find koalas and is now based.
Speaking to the Brisbane Times, IFAW campaigner Joey Sharrad explained why Bear’s job is so important:
Now, more than ever, saving individual koalas is critical.
With such an intense start to the bushfire season, it will be many weeks and months before some of these fires are out.
All the while, wildlife will continue to need to be rescued and treated, and might remain in care for some time. The road to recovery will be long.
And right now Bear’s work is more important than ever, because on Monday a burnt koala was among those rescued in New South Wales.
The koala, who has since been named Flash, had burns so bad he needed to be sedated before vets could treat him.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.