Dog called Bear leads fight to save koalas from Australian bushfires

SYDNEY: Australian scientists are using sniffer dogs to rescue koalas struggling to survive damaging bushfires as they try to avoid a repeat of last year's high death count of the native animals.

Led by Bear, a border collie and Australian cattle dog cross, Detection Dogs for Conservation saved more than 100 koalas in the country's worst summer of fires in decades from late 2019 to early 2020. About 6,000 koalas were killed and thousands of hectares of their natural habitat destroyed.

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READ: Koala bushfire victims start to return home amid wider fears for Australias wildlife

Almost exactly a year since the first fires of that season started, Bear is back, with a focus on the northern state of Queensland.

"While it is unlikely that we will see bushfires to the scale of last year, we are still preparing for multiple fires that can impact many hectares of koala habitat during the next fire season," said Detection Dogs founder Romane Cristescu, an ecologist at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

"In places such as Queensland and New South Wales, where populations are already declining, every koala counts," she added.

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New year, same mission for Bear, the famous dog helping find injured koalas in Australia's bushfires. (Photo: InsRead More – Source