A few weeks ago, we discussed the Australian bush fire situation, which devastated vast sections of Australia in 2019. Mainly, we focused on the plight of the Australian koala as their habitat was decimated by the ongoing fires. While we initially talked about a pair of springer spaniels named Taz and Missy, who were early pioneers of detection canine work to find sick or injured koalas, a new superstar has recently gained a lot of attention for his heartwarming story and admirable job.
Bear is a blue-eyed collie/koolie mix working with the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) Detection Dogs for Conservation. He was initially a family pet before he was abandoned due to his habit of eating most of his house when his parents were out. This boundless energy and obsessive nature prove to be invaluable assets in his current work, however.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) described Bear as “high-energy, obsessive, doesn’t like to be touched and is completely uninterested in people, which sadly means he doesn’t make the ideal family pet” … “But these qualities do make him a perfect candidate for a detection dog, which is exactly why he was chosen.” Associate Professor Celine-Frere, a vital member of the USC Detection Dogs for Conservation, had this to say about detection canines in general: “Because they can smell what we can’t see, dogs can be used to track rare animals, detect pest species and locate threatened native plants, so they have such an important role to play in conservation.” The team is currently trying to raise funds to deploy their teams more widely throughout affected areas. All these plans depend upon the effectiveness of detection canines, of which Bear is an outstanding example!
It seems that Bear’s story and admirable abilities are catching the eye of A-list celebrities as well, leading some to hope for a Disney movie depicting the inspiring life of this persevering pup. Tom Hanks came across Bear and his story earlier this year and said, “This is a Disney movie that must be made – the story of Bear, the koala detection dog.”
We will continue to keep an eye out for developments in this inspiring story. We would also like to thank you all for your patience in waiting for this article. Stay healthy, and we will see you next week with another story!