The Goodest Boy: Rescue Dog Bear Saved Koalas From Australian Wildfires, Honored With Award

A six-year-old pup named Bear found and helped save over 100 injured koalas caught in scorched areas left behind by Australia's 2019-2020 wildfires.

Australian scientists are using sniffer detection dogs to rescue koalas struggling to survive bushfires as they aim to prevent a repeat of last year’s disastrous fires and loss of wildlife. 

The rescue efforts are being led by Bear, a border collie and Australian cattle dog cross. Detection Dogs for Conservation saved over 100 koalas during Australia’s “Black Summer,” a period of devastating fires that lasted from late 2019 to early 2020. 

According to a release from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Bear recently received a special honor for his rescue work. On Oct. 12, Bear was honored by IFAW at the Animal Action Awards at the House of Lords; Bear joined the event virtually to receive his surprise.

“We think Bear really deserved this award because he’s been such a good boy in helping us find and rescue a lot of koalas, especially during the bushfires, but he works throughout the year to help us in our job to make a better and safer place for koalas. We’ll give Bear extra pats and extra play for his award,” Bear’s handler, Dr. Romane Cristescu of the University of the Sunshine Coast, said in a statement.

Just before the summer of fires, Bear was having trouble fitting in with a forever family due to his “boundless energy” and “obsessive enthusiasm for play.” However, these traits made Bear a prime candidate for the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Detection Dogs for Conservation Team. He excelled while learning to sniff out koalas and other wild animals and became an official team member.

Image source: Reuters