A dog who was abandoned as a puppy has a new mission: helping find and save koalas injured in Australia's recent devastating bushfires
Bear, a Cattle Dog cross-breed, is trained to find both koalas and and quolls, another small Australian marsupial, in the wild.
"This is the first year that we have been involved in the fires," Romane Cristescu, his minder and ecologist at The University of the Sunshine Coast, told Reuters. "It is a bit more dangerous than what we usually do."
Sponsored by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Bear has found dozens of koalas in need and for research purposes so far this year, but is yet to find any since starting his bushfire deployment earlier this month.
"With climate change, habitat loss and diseases, koalas are just facing too many threats," Cristescu said. "Those fires are just one of the many things threatening them so we really need to be better at protecting them."