In Australia, to help koalas whose habitat has been damaged by forest fires, dogs have been trained to locate them.
The bushfires that raged from June 2019 to March 2020 in the east and south-east of Australia were devastating: more than 18 million hectares burned, nearly 6,000 buildings destroyed, around thirty deaths directly linked to fires and hundreds of others indirectly. The flames did not spare the animals , especially the koalas .
Today, 6 months after the end of the disaster, these marsupials are still suffering from its consequences, starting with the destruction of their habitat . In order to protect them , the University of the Sunshine Coast , located near Brisbane in the state of Queensland (East Australia), has set up a team of specially trained dogs .
This group is made up of 4 canines including Australian Shepherds , each with their own specialty , as explained by Romane Cristescu , one of the participants in this program, in an interview for Sky News .
She is accompanied by one of these quadrupeds. Responding to Bear’s name, he was trained to search for koalas and designate their locations by lying down at the foot of the trees where they live. This type of silent marking at a good distance avoids frightening them . Koalas can thus either be rescued and cared for if necessary, or simply listed and made sure that they are doing well.
2 of the other dogs in this quartet learned to identify the habitats of koalas, which allows scientists to map these places precisely. The 4 th aid the collection of DNA samples marsupials.
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Thanks to this team, a hundred koalas were saved this summer.