SYDNEY – Taylor, a four-year-old English springer spaniel, has been among the hard-working rescuers during Australia’s bush fire crisis.
When told: “Koala, find!”, Taylor ventures out into burnt-out bush land to find injured marsupials by sniffing out the scent of their fur or their faeces, also known as scat.
Each time she finds a koala, she is rewarded with a tennis ball or culinary treat.
The fires have killed 29 people and razed bush land across an area the size of Bulgaria.
Australia’s koala population has also been severely affected. In New South Wales state alone, officials estimate 30 per cent of koala habitat – eucalpyt woodlands, which they use for both food and shelter – may have been lost.
A A$50 million (S$46.5 million) emergency wildlife recovery programme launched by the federal government earlier this week will focus on the survival of the iconic native animal.
Taylor, meanwhile, has been focused on finding injured koalas since she was just a few months old and is now an expert.