A brave dog has come to the rescue of injured and lost koalas in areas of Australia devastated by wildfires.
Bear, also referred to as the “koala detection dog”, can use his nose to detect the presence of the koalas and notify the rescue team.
The Australian Koolie has rescued more than 100 koalas in Northern Rivers, a New South Wales region where wildfires claimed the lives of six people and destroyed approximately 530 homes last year and early 2020.
Video shared by the International Fund for Animal Welfare showed how Bear performs on a mission.
Equipped with protective shoes, Bear runs into the woods to search.
When he finds an injured, sick or dehydrated koala, he signals his handler to sit next to it or near the tree where the koala is.
The handler then looks around the ground or sometimes looks to locate the furry animal.
Wildlife campaigner Josey Sharrad told BBC: “From the moment we met Bear, we knew it was him.
“He was not a very good pet because of his obsessive-compulsive character, but those qualities make him the perfect detection dog.
“Now he’s just gone from zero to hero, from being abandoned as a pet, until now he’s found 100 koalas.”
The koalas that survived the wildfires were left in a habitat she could no longer bear, said USC Detection Dogs for Conservation associate professor Celine Frere.
They risked dying if not properly cared for.
Bear has been in the rescue since January and will continue to find out as many koalas as he can before the next fire season arrives.
“We are going to contact local rescue groups and wildlife authorities in preparation for the next fire season,” added Josey.