It’s been over a year and I’m sure we’ll remember it for the rest of our lives. Prior to the COVID-19 challenges, Australia was devastated by bushfires in the summer of 2019-20, which was the worst blaze season in the country’s history. So much was lost, and the consequences will be felt for many years.
As a result of the catastrophe, a 25.5 million-acre region nearly the size of South Korea has been destroyed. At least 33 persons were died, including three volunteer firemen, and many more have gone missing. Approximately 3,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. According to the University of Sydney, more than 1 billion animals, birds, and reptiles died as a result of the fires. On Kangaroo Island, it was estimated that 25,000 koalas had died. Around 8000 koalas, or a third of all koalas in New South Wales, are thought to have died, and around a third of the koalas’ habitat has been destroyed.
Many of them, however, were saved owing to the efforts of volunteers, firefighters, and one dog in particular.
The Koala Dog, Bear, a six-year-old Australian Koolie, discovered and assisted in the rescue of over 100 wounded koalas trapped in the charred areas left by Australia’s wildfires in 2019-2020.
A press release from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) stated that, Bear, the dog that gained fame for saving koalas during Australia’s 2019-2020 wildfire season, was recently honored for his animal rescue efforts.
Bear used his talents to locate over 100 living koalas trapped in burnt regions and need of rescue during Australia’s 2019-2020 wildfire season.
These koalas were able to receive the medical attention they required to recover from burns, malnutrition, and dehydration thanks to Bear.
Romane Cristescu, Bear’s caretaker, expressed her pride in the former rescue dog, adding he will receive more pats and playtime as a result of his honour.
‘He’s been such a good boy in helping us identify and rescue a lot of koalas, especially during the bushfires, but he works all year to help us build a better and safer habitat for koalas,’ she said during the acceptance speech.
Due to his obsessive-compulsive illness, which prevented him from playing well with other dogs, the life-saving canine was abandoned by his previous owners.
However, it made him an excellent candidate for the Detection Dogs for Conservation program at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Bear was taught to recognize the scent of koala fur and is credited for saving over 100 marsupials after their homes were engulfed in flames during the 2019-2020 bushfires.
When Bear smelled them, he was instructed to descend softly to the ground at the foot of a tree, ensuring that the habitat was not disturbed and assisting his colleagues in locating koalas in need of medical attention.
Jasper, a cockapoo, won ‘Animal of the Year’ for his work assisting frontline NHS personnel during the COVID outbreak. Bear was one of just two dogs honored during the ceremony.