Hero dog saves injured koalas from Australian bushfires

Koalas injured in Australian bushfires recover at Treatment centre in New South Wales (Picture: Getty)

A rescue dog was sent into the wreckage of Australian bushfires to sniff out stranded koala bears.

The dog, named Bear, helped save the injured koalas following wildfires which devastated swathes of New South Wales (NSW).

Wearing socks to protect his paws, he went into into burnt-out areas to detect the native Australian animals by sniffing out their faeces and fur.

Bear was given up by his former owners as he was not well suited to life as a pet because he was intelligent and highly energetic.

He now works as a koala detection dog for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) alongside his handler, Rianna.

When the pet-turned-rescue dog smells a koala, he sits very still to alert Rianna that an animal is nearby.

Bear the rescue dog has helped save injured koalas like this one (Picture: Visual China Group)
The brave dog goes into the wreckage of bushfires to find stranded wildlife (Picture PA)
Despite strong winds Bear managed to sniff out some Koalas (Picture: PA)

The pair joined a search and rescue effort in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, where weeks of bushfires has killed six people.

The teams searched an Indigenous Protected Area, Ngunya Jargoon, near Wardell, which has been ravaged by two fires in the past month.

The conditions were against Bear, with strong winds making it hard to pinpoint exact locations.

However, he detected koalas  at a number of locations, allowing the rescue team to go in an save them.

IFAW’s wildlife campaigner, Josey Sharrad, said: ‘Now, more than ever, saving individual koalas is critical.

‘With such an intense start to the bushfire season, it will be many weeks and months before some of these fires are out. All the while, wildlife will continue to need to be rescued and treated and may remain in care for some time.

Bear finds the koalas by sniffing their fur and faeces (picture: PA)
Thanks to bear, the animals can be cared for at Port Macquarie Koala Hospital ICU in Port Macquarie, Australia (Picture: Reuters)
There are fears for wildlife as bushfire continues to rage in New South Wales Picture: Koala Hospital Port Macquarie/Facebook)
A blind koala sits on a tree after its rescue from a bushfire at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital Port Macquarie, Australia. (Picture: Visual China Group)

‘The road to recovery will be long. The impact on local communities will be felt for many months, and the toll on native wildlife and critical habitat will never truly be known.

‘Northern Rivers koalas are already struggling with prolonged drought, excessive land clearing and development, stress-related disease, dog attacks and car strikes. These animals need us now more than ever.’

People in Sydney woke up to a city shrouded in smoke on Tuesday, as scores of bushfires still rage across the region.

Strong winds overnight brought smoke from fires inland, pushing the air quality in Sydney beyond ‘hazardous’ levels.

On social media, locals have described hazy skies and the stench of smoke in their homes.

About five million people live in the state capital of New South Wales, which has been affected for weeks by fires.


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