A specialist rescue dog named "Bear" has helped locate around 100 koalas in fire-ravaged bushland in Australia, it was reported on Monday.
Since the devastating bushfires last summer, the keen-nosed Bear and his handlers have been working to track down those sick and injured koalas in order to provide them with treatment, reports Xinhua news agency.
Crucial in finding injured wildlife
The initiative is run by the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) Detection Dogs for Conservation team in conjunction with the International Fund for Animal Welfare and local wildlife groups.
The USC's detection dogs were previously used to locate animals for scientific studies but have proved crucial in finding injured wildlife in the vast areas of devastation left by the fires.
"We've worked in areas post-fire with other dogs, and they were able to smell their target odours, so it didn't surprise me that Bear could do it," Bear's handler, Romane Cristescu told local media. "The catastrophic landscape is really hard for us, but for Bear it's an opportunity for him to be out and play and do what he likes doing."
Using a drone to locate koalas
A thermal camera attached to a drone is also used by the team to help locate which areas the koalas are in and then the specially trained Bear is sent in to identify which tree they are hiding in.
Once the koalas are located, the team and wildlife care experts can give the animals the support they need to survive in the wild. Thousands of koalas perished in last year's bushfires.