According to the USC site, Bear was rescued from a shelter and has an endless supply of energy, an obsessive nature, and is completely uninterested in humans -- which turns out doesn't make for a great pet, but they're the exact qualities he needs to locate and track koalas. (Sometimes he looks for other marsupials, like the endangered Northern quoll.)
USC Detection Dogs for Conservation Senior Research Dr. Celine Frere said in a news release, "Bear is highly focused and brilliant at focusing on one thing – his ball which is his reward, which makes him perfectly suited for the job. He also has zero prey drive which is essential for a wildlife detection dog as they need to focus purely on the scent and not the animal, ultimately ignoring the animal."
"Bear has helped us locate sick and injured koalas and has recently been called to search for koalas in habitats ravaged by fires. --
"Because they can smell what we can't see, dogs can be used to track rare animals, detect pest species and locate threatened native plants, so they have such an important role to play in conservation," Dr. Celine Frere says.
In a post on Facebook, Detection Dogs for Conservation wrote, "I am still unsure whether this is due to his awesome blue eyes, attractive red booties, or his heart warming story from abandoned dog to super star (it's the red booties though, right????) -
but I do need to acknowledge there are so many more amazing people doing so much more for wildlife right now, and that deserve all the recognition in the world."