Bear the detection dog helps protect Australia's endangered quoll

Rebecca Keeble | 26 April 2019

When it comes to saving Australia’s native marsupials, detection dog Bear knows the hard work it takes to locate and protect endangered species. Rescued at a young age, Bear possessed the high energy and drive that made him a great candidate for our detection dog initiative. After going through training at the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Detection Dog Unit in Queensland, Bear was ready to begin his career. He typically spends his day detecting koalas, but as of recently, his mornings are spent searching for one of Australia’s most endangered marsupials: the Northern quoll.

The Northern quoll is a carnivorous marsupial with dark greyish brown fur, white spots, and a long furry tail. Once abundant across Australia, this charismatic animal now faces a drastic decline that originated in 1935 when the cane toad was introduced to Australia. Initially brought to Queensland as a form of beetle control, the toad wreaked devastation on wildlife and continues to kill small animals with its venomous glands. Today, the Northern quoll can be found in Queensland, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia. It is listed as endangered by Australia’s Environment legislation, with only a handful of viable populations left. This is where Bear’s work comes into play.

Every morning, Bear and his handler Riana patrol a construction site in Far North Queensland in search of quolls. Using his innate sense of smell, Bear scans up and down the site, alerting Riana anytime he detects quoll scent. When Riana and Bear successfully locate a quoll, authorities block off the area and safely relocate the animal to a secured habitat.

After finishing his rounds, Bear loves to celebrate with a refreshing swim in the creek. His captivating blue eyes and admirable work protecting native wildlife have gained him many fans in the community. We’re incredibly proud of Bear and couldn’t imagine a better partner for this job.

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