Meet Australia’s Brave Dogs Rescuing Koalas From The Deadly Wildfires

We all are aware by now that New South Wales on Australia’s east coast is experiencing some of the most devastating wildfires in history.

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And the ones who are suffering the most are the wildlife – particularly the koalas. Thanks to the hard work of koala-sniffer dogs, such as Taylor and Bear, conservation groups are able to better rescue these afflicted marsupials while fires continue to rage on.

 

Bear is a border collie mix who is working with the Australian chapter of the non-profit, IFAW. As a puppy, he was a little too high-energy for his first family, but it is exactly these traits – his drive and love of work – which make him a fantastic koala dog.

 

As his handler, Romane, explained to Australian Geographic, “Bear is a happy soul, always keen to be on the move and do something. His worst nightmare is to be left behind when you go to work – luckily for him, we are allowed to bring our dogs to work every day.”

 
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Taylor is a 4-year-old springer spaniel, who has managed to locate 8 koalas in the fires so far – including saving the life of a mother and her joey.

Taylor comes from working lines, and all her siblings, plus her father, also work in animal detection. These incredible dogs can be taught to identify any animal species, from reptiles to birds, to mammals. In addition to koalas, Taylor can sniff out quolls, foxes, cats, rabbits, and rats. When working, she also will mark any nearby predators.

 

 

 

Dogs who are trained to locate koalas do so by trailing the scent of either their fur or scat. The dogs then alert under the tree in question. Volunteers and aid workers can then spot the koala and climb the tree in order to rescue the animal in need.

 

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has been caring for koala burn victims since the start of these blazes, and they’ve been relying on the generous donations from people around the world. They still need so much, so if you can spare anything and would like to help these koalas, you can do so by clicking here.

 

 

Prior to the wildfires, these dogs were helping scientists find and track koalas for research and conservation purposes. According to Romane, human koala spotters have a 20% accuracy rating as compared to the 100% accuracy of koala dogs. That is incredible!

 

Koalas were hunted for their meat and fur until the early 1920s. While their numbers began to bounce back once the hunters left them alone, deforestation in Australia, as well as urban encroachment, has seriously depleted their natural habitat. Today, there are less than 50,000 koalas in the wild, and now that wild is on fire.

If this isn’t a wake up call for all of us to come together and do something to save these precious animals, then I don’t know what is.

 

 

 

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