Hero Border Collie named Bear braves bushfires to save stricken koalas by sniffing them out – and his tragic backstory will move you to tears
- The Border Collie-Koolie cross is the only dog that can sniff out koala fur
- Wearing socks to protect his paws, he is sent into safe burnt-out areas
- He walks around and then sits very still to alert handler when koala is near
- Bear has been deployed in fire areas in New South Wales and Queensland
A dog named Bear has been helping firefighters save injured and orphaned koalas from forests left devastated by bushfires.
The Border Collie-Koolie cross is the only dog in the world that can sniff out both koala faeces and fur.
Wearing socks to protect his paws, he is sent into safe burnt-out areas and sits very still to alert his handler when a koala is near.
Hero: A dog named Bear (pictured) has been helping firefighters save injured and orphaned koalas from forests left devastated by bushfires
On guard: The border collie-Koolie cross is the only dog in the world that can sniff out both koala faeces and fur. He wears socks to protect his feet in the forest
Bear has been deployed in New South Wales and Queensland and this week is in Cooroibah, north of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast.
Animal charity IFAW shared photos of Bear in action on Monday in a post which read: ‘Unfortunately no signs of koalas were found, but we are hopeful that survivors will be found in nearby areas.’
Bear was abandoned by his owners because he has obsessive compulsive disorder which means he does not like to play.
But he was rescued from a pound by Sunshine Coast University where he was trained to find koalas and is now based.
IFAW campaigner Josey Sharrad explained why Bear’s job is so important.
On Monday a burnt koala was among those rescued in New South Wales. Pictured: A rescued koala
Bear (pictured enjoying a snack) is sent into safe burnt-out areas and sits very still to alert his handler when a koala is near
‘Now, more than ever, saving individual koalas is critical,’ he told the Brisbane Times.
‘With such an intense start to the bushfire season, it will be many weeks and months before some of these fires are out,’ he said.
‘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.’
On Monday a burnt koala was among those rescued in New South Wales.
The koala named Flash was found in Taree with burns so severe he had to be sedated before treatment.
Meanwhile, heartwarming footage has emerged of firefighters giving a drink of water to two koalas they rescued from catastrophic bushfires.
Lester Miles was on his way to relieve day shift crews fighting a blaze burning for more than a week at Spicers Gap in Maryvale, Queensland, on Sunday night when he saw the koalas surrounded by flames.
The Brisbane firefighter said the koalas would have been burnt alive if they hadn’t been spotted and saved.
‘They had nowhere to go, there was fire all around them,’ he told The Courier Mail.’
‘Coming up through there we pretty much had to go through the fire itself, there were a lot of trees falling over.’
Firefighters feeding water to a koala after rescuing it from a bushfire