This year, Australia faces devastating bushfires that are cutting through areas that are koala habitats. It is believed that thousands of koalas, which are currently listed as “vulnerable” due to human encroachment, could die. When fires sweep through an area, koalas can be left behind in tall trees, and be hard for humans to spot. Because of this, organizations such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare are deploying koala detecting dogs. These dogs are trained to find koalas by the scent of their fur or their droppings. Then, humans can rescue survivors. Dogs can find koalas much faster than humans, and can tell their trainers that koalas are still alive in the area. The dogs are eager and energetic to participate and have contributed to saving dozens of koalas. The dedication of the dogs is extraordinary, as they venture into dangerous environments to save their furry allies.
Dogs can also help koalas to ensure that they have a safe place to live. Because of deforestation and human development, koala homes are under attack. Aid organizations want to help, but they can’t when they don’t know where the koalas are. Formerly-sheltered, highly-active dogs—who may otherwise never be adopted— are trained to sniff out koalas. The dogs provide valuable information and can help to save entire koala populations. When humans know where the koalas are, they can better ensure that their environments are protected. The partnership between koalas and dogs is admirable and inspiring. It can serve as a reminder of all the good things that still happen in the world.
Photo Credit: Mathias Appel