Border collie-koolie uses his nose to find koalas affected by Australia bushfires

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(ABC) -

A border collie-koolie cross is helping find at-risk koalas living in areas in Australia that have been devastated by bushfires.

Bear, the "koala detection dog," is able to use his nose to sniff out any koalas and help rescue teams find them, according to a press release from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

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His services are being used in Northern Rivers, a region in Australia’s state of New South Wales, where bushfires have claimed the lives of six people and destroyed around 530 homes, according to The Guardian.

Bear was able to detect the presence of koalas in Ngunya Jargoon, an Indigenous protected area in the state, but because of high winds, he wasn't able to pinpoint their exact location.

However, rescue teams said it was "a relief" that Bear sniffed out the presence of koalas, which indicated some are still living in the area.

PHOTO: Bear, a koala detection dog from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, joined the rescue efforts in Bungawalbin National Park, Australia.

PHOTO: Bear, a koala detection dog from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, joined the rescue efforts in Bungawalbin National Park, searching an area recently decimated by fires. Bear indicated the presence of koalas at several sites.

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"Now, more than ever, saving individual koalas is critical. With such an intense start to the bushfire season it will be many weeks and months before some of these fires are out," Josey Sharrah, IFAW's Wildlife Campaigner, said in a statement.

"Northern Rivers koalas are already struggling with prolonged drought, excessive land clearing and development, stress-related disease, dog attacks and car strikes," the statement continued. "These animals need us now more than ever."

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