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Koala Detection Dog continues braving flames to save survivors of the bushfire

collie mix running and koala in a tree © bearthekoaladog & friends_of_the_koala - Instagram

We first wrote about Bear and some of his canine colleagues back in November. 7 weeks on, and Bear is working harder than ever to save Australia’s marsupials.

By Justine Seraphin, 10 Jan 2020

Bear, the Border Collie-Koolie cross is actually a former rescue who had been abandoned by his previous owners because his OCD made him an unsuitable pet.

A dog with a job

However, the very things that made him inadequate for pet life made him the perfect working dog. Because he was young, intelligent, and highly energetic, he was immediately noticed by IFAW, who took him under their wing and started training him as a koala detection dog.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bear The Koala Detection Dog (@bearthekoaladog) on

“A dog's sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than that of humans. Training Bear to locate koalas means that we can now work faster and with great accuracy to protect them,” Wildlife Campaigner for IFAW, Joey Sharrad, explains.

Since the bushfires started in September 2019, Bear has been working around the clock trying to find sick and injured survivors in need of rescue.

And despite the heat (Oz recorded its hottest day last week with temperatures soaring above 49°C), nothing can stop this courageous boy. He wears little boots to protect his pads from burning on the hot ground, but once they’re on, he loves nothing more than being out in the bush and doing his job.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bear The Koala Detection Dog (@bearthekoaladog) on

Rise to fame

Unsurprisingly, this good boy's handsome looks and heroic personality have made him quite popular. He's been mentioned by Tom Hanks, who stated his story should become a Disney movie (and we agree), and was also seen on Leonardo DiCaprio's Instagram.

To deal with all this fame, Bear started his own Instagram account, in which he can be seen hard at work – though it all looks like a lot fun for him.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bear The Koala Detection Dog (@bearthekoaladog) on

Nature's saviour

A recent estimate has revealed that up to 1 billion animals, of which at least 25,000 are koalas, may have perished so far in the fires that ravaged Australia.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Friends Of The Koala (@friends_of_the_koala) on

“Now more than ever, every individual koala matters for the future of the species,” adds Sharrad, “so we are delighted that the world now sees Bear for what he is, a wildlife hero.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ifaw (@action4ifaw) on

Bear is our beacon of hope in these dark times. Keep up the good work buddy, you are a VERY good boy.