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Rescue Dog With ‘Too Much Destructive Energy’ Now Saving Koalas From Australian Brushfires

From abandoned dog to koalas hero

Bear, the rescue dog, has an incredible story.

He was abandoned as a puppy in Australia because he has OCD. Maybe that was too challenging for some humans.

Luckily, Bear found the right path and is now using his special talent to help track and rescue koalas who are facing terrible dangers during the devastating brushfires that are sweeping across Australia.

Bad dog or great dog?

Bear’s trainer, Romane Cristescu, tells Australian Geographic, before Bear became a rescue dog in 2016 he was acting out. “He was a very high-energy young adult and apparently ate the whole flat he was living in.”

Romane believes Bear was simply bored.

Turns out Bear was EXACTLY the kind of dog Detection Dogs for Conservation was looking for.–A dog with a sweet nature who has boundless energy for work.

Saving koalas from dangerous Australian brushfires is a good day at work for Bear, the rescue dog.
Saving koalas from dangerous Australian brushfires is a good day at work for Bear, the rescue dog.

Hero on the job

The Fund For Animal Welfare says, “He was recently deployed to southeast Queensland and one of the hardest-hit areas of New South Wales where the bushfires decimated local koala populations. Bear is one of the few detection dogs who can locate live koalas through the scent of their fur.”

“Bear’s particular training means that he is hyper-focused on the koalas’ scent, but he has no interest in attacking them once he finds them.”

The Fund For Animal Welfare

And there are other dogs helping to save koalas and wildlife in Australia.

Dogs like Taylor.

For months now Port Macquarie has been burning. Taylor and Ryan have managed to get out for a few days over the last few weeks in between fires (and bringing our newborn twins home) looking for Koalas that needed rescuing or relocating. We focused on areas that were on the fringes of major fires and were part of critical Koala Habitat. We worked with the outstanding @portmacquariekoalahospital , members of the PMHC and NSW National parks. These forests were locations we’ve already worked in many times over the years, they included some of the most genetically diverse and healthy Koala populations in the world and the habitat destruction has brought more than a few tears to our eyes. Taylor assisted in finding 8 Koalas on our days in the field. On 3 occasions she sat right beneath live animals, (including a mum and joey), and then in many other instances she would alert us to fresh scat and we would notify the expert Koala spotters who would then survey the canopy to spot the survivors. It is a lot like solving a complex puzzle and we are very privileged to be a small part of rescuing survivors. Just like so many of the programs we are involved in, people power, volunteers and collaborative efforts to conserve habitat is what makes a real difference. If you want to be part of the solution here is what you can do: Donate to the Koala Hospital. Plant some koala feed trees. Promote organisations doing conservation work. Stay informed about what your local, state and federal government reps are doing to protect what’s left of our natural environments. The extent of this tragedy is hard to get our head around. We have good friends that own a pocket of land down the road and have dedicated the past 15 years to regenerating every square inch, removing lantana and planting over 10,000 endemic trees which became home to hundreds of native animals including Koalas. Last Tuesday they lost it all. The only redeeming factor in all of this, is seeing the human spirit on the front line. Be kind to each other and open minded. The extinction rate our animals and plants are facing and the devastation of this fire event is a complex issue needing immediate attention.

A post shared by TATE Animals – Ryan & Jen Tate (@tateanimaltraining) on

How you can help

You can help the koalas of Australia even if you live on the other side of the world.

They currently are holding a fundraiser on Facebook to help all sorts of animals who are endangered during the brushfire crisis.

If you love dogs, you might enjoy my book,

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover

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