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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.