Doug Kiker walked into his American Idol audition with no previous experience in performing or any knowledge or training on vocals. Kiker, a garbage collector from Mobile, Alabama, entered onto the stage with a smile on his face and a hope to inspire his 2 year old daughter that there was nothing she couldn’t do. […]
Bear is an adorable collie/koolie mix with striking blue eyes. His job? Leading rescuers to live koalas, and he’s had quiet a busy past few weeks.
Bear works with the Detection Dogs for Conservation, and has been specially-trained to sniff out displaced, sick, orphaned and injured koalas in the wild. With the bushfires currently raging across of Australia’s east coast, koalas are at serious risk. Experts predict that hundreds of koalas have already died in the fires and many more are losing their habitats.
Koalas are particularly vulnerable to bushfires as they are slow moving and live in eucalyptus trees that burn quickly and intensely. Camouflaged high in the tree tops, koalas are also difficult for the human eye to spot. This is where Bear’s skills come in. Bear is helping those that are still alive by pointing the out to rescuers.
While this seems like an adorable job for a dog, it’s one that is very rare to keep. Koala detection dogs need to be disinterested in people, hyper-focused and without a prey drive. Years ago, Bear, now 6, was brought to Detection Dogs for Conservation by his former owners, who could no longer care for him.
“He was brought in for assessment at about one year old. Within minutes the team knew he was ‘The One’ they had been looking for to train on live koalas. He is 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,” IFAW, which funds Bear’s training and upkeep, shared in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.