Meet the rescue dog saving koala bears with his supersensitive nose

From the Daily Express

By STUART WINTER

A HIGH-energy dog too active and playful for his owners has found a new role in life – saving threatened koala bears.

The blue-eyed rescue dog’s supersensitive nose can detect the faintest scent of koala and save them when loggers get to work in eucalyptus plantations.Appropriately called Bear himself, the fun-loving animal treats sniffing out koalas before they can get hurt when trees are felled as one big game.

Bear, a Border Collie-Koolie cross, has been recruited by the International Fund for Animal Welfare to undergo a training programme to become an official Koala Detection Dog and has a knack for the job.

Dog

IFAW. Meet the rescue dog whose supersensitive nose is saving koalas

Video shows him being put through his paces, using his snout – 10,000 times more sensitive than a human nose – to track down a koala mother with her joey high in the trees.Koalas, officially classified as vulnerable to extinction on the official international Red List of endangered animals, face danger wherever they climb or wander.

Wildfires, drought, disease, particularly chlamydia, and traffic all pose serious hazards for the animals, but logging blue gum eucalyptus trees is now regarded as the biggest threat.

This is where detection dogs can be life-savers.

KoalaIFAW

The dog, called bear, loves to sniff out koalas before they can get hurt when trees are felled

Koalas are in crisis across Australia and this project also allows us to rescue dogs from death row

Josey Sharrad

Plantation work can be delayed if the presence of koalas is highlighted, allowing time for the animals to be relocated to a safer environment.Bear was rescued in February last year and became one of three animals to begin Koala training at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Detection Dog Programme.

He is the only one to make the grade and has been scientifically tested to show he can detect koala scent with a 96 per cent success rate and can also discriminate koalas from other marsupials with 95 per cent accuracy.

He has begun tracking live koalas with encouraging results and takes his “masters degree” later in the year when he will be tested against humans and drones.Josey Sharrad, IFAW’s native wildlife campaigner in Australia, explained how detecting koala bears has given Bear a new lease of life.

She said: “Bear has an unfortunately all too common backstory. Purchased as a puppy, his family was disheartened to discover that his high energy and extreme toy-drive was too much for them to handle.

“Luckily for Bear, that’s when the team found him, and, in partnership with IFAW, were able to give him a second chance. And now, Bear will be able to give a second chance to koalas.

Dog

IFAW. Bear’s nose is 10,000 times more sensitive than a human nose

“Koalas are in crisis across Australia and this project also allows us to rescue dogs from death row to help us save koalas.“Not many dogs have what it takes to be a detection dog, but Bear is the perfect candidate.

“He is high-energy, focused and, most importantly, is only interested in his ball and has zero interest in chasing koalas.

“These are conservation dogs and they cannot be a threat to wildlife. So it’s a win win – both dogs and koalas get a second chance at life.”

Australian Koala numbers have been estimated between 100,000 and as few as 43,000 animals.

Loss of eucalyptus trees, the koala’s chief food, means they spend more time on the ground where they can get hit by cars and, sadly, even attacked by dogs.



Categories: Environmental

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  1. A HIGH-energy dog too active and playful for his owners has found a new role in life – saving threatened koala bears. The blue-eyed rescue dog’s supersensitive nose can detect the faintest scent of koala and save them when loggers get to work in eucal
  2. A HIGH-energy dog too active and playful for his owners has found a new role in life – saving threatened koala bears. The blue-eyed rescue dog’s supersensitive nose can detect the faintest scent of koala and save them when loggers get to work in eucal

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