Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Detection dog helps in search for bushfire victims
Detection dog Bear is helping to find Koalas affected by the devastating bushfires in Australia.

Bear is trained to detect live koalas through the sent of their fur

A detection dog called Bear has been helping to locate and rescue koalas affected by the deadly bushfires in Australia.

Bear is part of a team at the Detection Dogs for Conservation Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast and is trained to find live koalas through the sent of their fur.

In recent days, Bear has been helping the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) sniff-out koalas in the Northern Rivers region. The team searched an Indigenous Protected Area, Ngunya Jargoon, thought to be home to some 20-40 koalas.

Before the fire, the 1000-hectare of woodlands, rainforest and eucalypts provided a refuge for the iconic species affected by nearby development. Now, according to the IFAW, the area is a ‘blackened, smouldering crematorium’. 

With up to 30km winds, the conditions were against Bear and made it difficult for him to identify the exact location of the koalas. He did, however, indicate their presence at various sites, meaning there are still live koalas in the area.

IFAW supports a veterinary nurse at rehabilitation organisation, Friends of the Koala, who provides critical onsite treatment and care to sick, injured and orphaned koalas. IFAW is also providing the team with fire safety equipment and veterinary supplies to help manage the influx of koalas requiring treatment for burns, smoke inhalation and dehydration.

IFAW’s wildlife campaigner, Josey Sharrad, said: “Now, more than ever, saving individual koalas is critical. With such an intense start to the bushfire season, it will be many weeks and months before some of these fires are out. All the while wildlife will continue to need to be rescued and treated and may remain in care for some time. The road to recovery will be long."

Ros Irwin, President of Friends of the Koala, added: “The fires in the Northern Rivers have been so extensive that we fear hundreds of koalas may have been lost. We are on call and expect to receive more sick and injured koalas in the coming days and weeks. Every animal coming in, even before the fires, was dehydrated and malnourished due to the drought. 

"We are standing by with specially-trained volunteers ready to go in and are working alongside the Rural Fire Service, National Parks and Forestry Corporation who have all been wonderfully supportive."

Image (C) IFAW.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Face covering rules expanded

News Story 1
 New rules came into force in England on Saturday (8 August) making it mandatory for clients to wear a face covering in veterinary practices.

The rules, which also apply to cinemas, museums and places of worship, follow a recent spike in coronavirus cases. All clients in England must now wear a face covering when inside a veterinary practice unless they are exempt for age, health or equality reasons. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Poultry webinar proves big hit with vets

A week long webinar series dedicated to backyard poultry has proven to be a big hit with vets, attracting more than 300 participants since its launch.

The series focuses on a variety of topics, including how to spot and treat common diseases, practical advice for clinical examinations and the importance of preventative healthcare.

The webinars can now be accessed online. To find out more and to view the series, visit the MSD Animal Health Hub.