Hero dog braves bush fires in special socks to save koalas

Huge swathes of koala bear habitat have been destroyed in the bushfires currently ravaging New South Wales and Queensland in Australia – but Border Collie-Koolie cross Bear is on hand to help.

A dog with a heartbreaking back-story is helping to save koala bears in fire-stricken Australia.

The pooch, called Bear, has been walking through the country’s charred forests in search of the helpless herbivores.

The dog wears special socks to protect him from the burnt ground and has been specially trained to sniff out koala poo and fur.

Bear has bounced back from a tough start in life, after being abandoned by his owners because his obsessive compulsive disorder meant he did not like to play.

However, Sunshine Coast University gave the Border Collie-Koolie cross a fresh start by taking him out of the rescue home and teaching him to scout for koala bears.

He is now believed to be the only dog in the world that can track the animals. The dog and his handler have visited forests in New South Wales, Queensland and Cooroibah in recent weeks.

With such an intense start to the bushfire season, it will be many weeks and months before some of the fires are out. All the while, wildlife will continue to need to be rescued and treated, and might remain in care for some time. Firefighters have been filmed saving koala bears from the bushfires in recent days.

Heartwarming footage shows crews cradling the badly burnt animals as they feed them water. Large areas of koala bear habitat have been destroyed in the blazes. Thousands of firefighters have been battling the flames in New South Wales and Queensland on the east coast for several days.