A rescue dog named Bear is introduced, and his courageous role explained, in the video above from Sky News Australia. Bear is a koala-detecting rescue dog, and is trained to enter into (and emerge safely from) bushfires with koalas that may be hurt, injured and in need of assistance. Previously, Bear was only a research assistant, so to speak.
Researchers who have trained and work with Bear explain in the video, that what we call a “working” dog is actually a “playing” dog. Being a dog who loves to play with any toys he is given, all researchers had to do was create a game for him.
In return for trailing a koala scent, he gets a toy to play with. Having done this numerous times, Bear now looks forward to getting out on the field and playing the game for rewards.
Australia is currently under a thick blanket of smoke from extensive bushfires across the country. While bushfires in Australia are common, their impact can be devastating and experts say the fires this year have been unprecedented. Bear has been driven around Queensland and New South Wales multiple times in the past few weeks, sniffing for koalas.
Koalas, due to their slow-moving nature and quiet behaviour, are especially susceptible to being trapped in the fires. Their danger-avoidance strategy is to curl up in a ball on top of a tree, which doesn’t work well during a fire, for obvious reasons.