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Meet Bear, the heroic dog who saved over 100 koalas from Australia's bushfires

The Australian Koolie was awarded for his heroism by the International Fund for Animal Welfare. He was found in an animal shelter a few years ago.

Meet Bear, the heroic dog who saved over 100 koalas from Australia's bushfires
Image Source: BearTheKoalaDog / Instagram

From 2019 to 2020, this Australian Koolie has been saving his furry friends, koalas, from bushfires across the country. The 6-year-old named Bear has since been recognized for his acts of heroism. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has just honored his work with an award. A few years earlier, he was found abandoned in an animal shelter. Now, he has an ongoing day job with local rescue groups, locating and saving koalas on welfare rescue missions. Bear has also gained immense popularity on Instagram, where users from all over the world follow his adventures, Good News Network reports.


The doggo was taught in Australia at the University of the Sunshine Coast. At the institution, a Detection Dogs for Conservation team trained Bear to utilize his heightened sense of smell in order to hunt out any injured koalas found among the ashes of bushfires. According to research fellow Dr. Romane Cristescu, who leads the team at USC, he was given "extra pats and extra play" after he received his prestigious award via video during the IFAW Animal Action Awards event in London’s House of Lords. She also explained that Bear's sense of smell, in addition to his enthusiasm for play, made him the best fit for research projects such as the one Dr. Cristescu is overseeing.


As IFAW awarded the Australian Koolie, they said he was "a ray of hope" for over 100 koalas as he searched the burned habitat to help the USC/IFAW team and their partners. The fund sponsors Bear, allowing the research team to continue their work. Dr. Cristescu, an ecologist and former veterinarian, shared that Bear continues to contribute to wildlife rescues and research with the team’s other canine colleagues. "Bear and our team are studying the effects of the 2019-20 bushfires on koala health and habitat density in collaboration with IFAW," she stated. "He is always happy to give a paw to find koalas as part of the Detection Dogs for Conservation’s other research activities."


Furthermore, Bear holds a day job locating koalas for welfare rescue missions in collaboration with local rescue groups. And, of course, he is an Instagram celebrity. His adoring fans keep up with his work on the platform, where you can find lots of photos of his koala-saving adventures. Indeed, this doggo has come a long way from the animal shelter. He was abandoned by his former owners, reportedly as a result of behavior issues caused by his "boundless energy and obsessive enthusiasm for play." Now, his energy is appreciated and he is well taken care of.


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