This super doggo's set of skills has been quite an asset to koala rescue operations amidst Australia's bushfire crisis.
Bear the dog has been very busy these past few days with a very important mission. Putting his well-trained nose to work, the border collie/koolie mix has been trying to sniff out and locate any and all koalas injured in Australia's ongoing bushfire crisis. A member of the IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) koala detection dog squad, Bear is a specially trained canine capable of detecting displaced, sick, orphaned, and injured koalas in the wild. His skills have been an incredible asset to koala rescue operations as the catastrophic bushfire crisis rages across the country.
According to a report by PEOPLE, the bushfires currently raging across Australia's east coast have been particularly fatal to the country's native arboreal herbivorous marsupial as the flames are burning right through prime koala habitat. While experts fear hundreds of koalas may have already perished in the fires, Bear and his handlers at Detection Dogs for Conservation are looking out for the ones who've survived.
Teaming up with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services - QFES, Queensland Koala Crusaders, and Wildcare Australia Inc., this hardworking doggo has been scouring several scorched areas in Australia to locate koalas that may have been injured in the fires and are in desperate need of medical attention. As adorable and cute as it may all sound—it's a handsome pupperino hero on a mission to save koalas, after all — Bear's job is by no means easy. Koala detection dogs are required to be disinterested in people, hyper-focused, and without a prey drive, and Bear is an expert at his job.
While his job alone makes this 6-year-old canine a super doggo, Bear has an incredible origin story that perfectly ties into his superhero status. You see, Bear was a rescue dog. He was brought to Detection Dogs for Conservation years ago by his former owners who could no longer take care of him. "He was brought in for an assessment at about one year old. Within minutes the team knew he was 'The One' they had been looking for to train on live koalas. He is high-energy, obsessive, doesn't like to be touched and is completely uninterested in people, which sadly means he doesn't make the ideal family pet," revealed IFAW, the organization that funds Bear's training and upkeep, in a statement.
"But these qualities do make him a perfect candidate for a detection dog which is exactly why he was chosen. Bear is highly focused and brilliant at focusing on one thing – his ball which is his reward, which makes him perfectly suited for the job. He also has zero prey drive which is essential for a wildlife detection dog as they need to focus purely on the scent and not the animal, ultimately ignoring the animal," the statement continues.
Even among other koala detection dogs, Bear is somewhat of a superstar with a special set of skills that are coming in quite handy during Australia's current crisis. Unlike many of his peers, Bear is trained to find live koalas. During natural disasters like fires, sniffing out fresh scat isn't always an effective method to locate koalas, this super doggo is able to detect and lead rescuers to living koalas, no matter how up a tree the marsupial is.