Trained Dogs Find Seven Koalas Alive In Bushfire-Affected Area
We've all fallen in love with the dogs who have been trained to sniff out any surviving koalas from the bushfires that have been gripping parts of Australia - and one pair of springer spaniels managed to locate seven koalas who survived the inferno.
The two detection dogs, named Taz and Missy, used their incredible noses in Maryvale on Queensland's South Downs.
On the first day of their search through the burnt-out forest, the two dogs - along with their handlers - managed to spot a koala and her baby.
Koala conservation ecologist Olivia Woosnam said: "The joey was out of the pouch and independent. They were in the same tree and they were moving around and seemed okay, we did a visual check of them and we've got no immediate concern for their safety."
The team combed through a whopping 10 kilometres of forest in Maryvale and came across five more of the marsupials. According to ITV, despite bushfires tearing through the region more than two months ago, they managed to find areas that were still smouldering.
While Australia has been absolutely battered by rain in many parts, it's clear that it hasn't fallen in some of the regions where it's needed most.
Many of the koalas that were found were in various states of dehydration and exhaustion. It's miraculous that they were even found alive considering nearly all of their diet comes from eucalyptus trees.
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Olivia Woosnam added: "There isn't much leaf and therefore not much moisture at all, so they'd be getting thirsty."
Thankfully, the koala detection dogs will get to continue doing the work that has earned them praise around the world after a bit of extra funding was given by WWF Australia.
Dr Stuart Blanch, senior manager of land clearing and restoration, for WWF Australia, said: "Finding seven koalas alive amid the destruction in just two days is an encouraging start.
"It's great to see that some koalas are surviving the fires and they can recolonise the forest as it regrows."
If you've been watching all the news with the bushfires and want to help, there are opportunities to do just that.
Animal shelters and rehabilitation centres around fire-affected areas are overrun with loads of different species and they need help getting everyone back to perfect health.
They're looking for foster carers to help rehabilitate some of the animals affected by the bushfire tragedy.
Healesville Sanctuary senior veterinarian Dr Leanne Wicker has told the Sydney Morning Herald: "It's so vital for places like Healesville Sanctuary [and] for the experts that we have here working together collaboratively with volunteers to get in as early as we can... to give every creature the best possible fighting chance of survival.
"I know that through the extra resources and the absolute love, dedication and skill that has been combined across volunteers and professionals that they will do all they can to be able to give the fighting chance of survival to each and every creature that is able to be saved... [but] not all of them will be."
According to the Herald, anyone who is keen on becoming a volunteer foster carer can request to be considered by contacting the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
Featured Image Credit: WWF Australia/Veronica Joseph