Now Bear nose he’s an award-winner

University of the Sunshine Coast

USC’s Detection Dogs for Conservation team is celebrating an international award for intrepid Bear, the six-year-old former rescue dog now known across the world for his work in tracking koalas after Australia’s 2019-20 bushfires.

Research Fellow Dr Romane Cristescu, who leads the USC team, said Bear received “extra pats and extra play” after he was honoured – via video – by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) at the Animal Action Awards event in London’s House of Lords.

She said Bear’s sense of smell, energy and enthusiasm for play had made him ideal for research projects such as recognising the scent of koala fur in the bush.

IFAW, which sponsors Bear, said the dog had been “a ray of hope” as he searched burned habitat to help the USC/IFAW team and their partners to rescue koalas.

Dr Cristescu, an ecologist and former veterinarian, said the USC/IFAW koala detection dog was continuing to contribute to wildlife rescues and research with the team’s other canine colleagues.

“Bear and our team are studying the effects of the 2019-20 bushfires on koala health and habitat density in collaboration with IFAW,” she said.

“In addition, Bear has an ongoing day job of locating koalas for welfare rescue missions, in collaboration with local rescue groups. He is always happy to give a paw to find koalas as part of the Detection Dogs for Conservation’s other research activities.”

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