Oscar Tragically Killed While Saving A Koala

http://www.mnk9.com With profound sorrow and grief it is my duty to inform you that The World’s first Koala Detection Dog, Oscar has been tragically killed On Saturday September 14, 2013.

Oscar was working in Port Macquarie locating Koalas in front of the excavators and harvesting machines making a new housing development with ecologists on stand by for a run to the koala hospital.

On Saturday afternoon Oscar and owner Jim Shields were at their accommodation when a local koala climbed down a tree and attempted to cross the road. The Koala froze in the headlights of oncoming cars which swerved and narrowly missed the koala.

Jim and Oscar ran down the road to save the Koala, Oscar picked up the koala scent and raced for it. Oscar then barked at the koala and the Koala immediately ran back to the edge of the road which saved him from certain death. A moment later an approaching car hit Oscar at full speed, Oscar was still alive and tried to get up when he saw Jim. Jim stroked him and held his head; Oscar barked twice more and died in Jim’s arms.

Our thoughts are with Jim Shields and his family and the many people that have worked with Oscar over the past few years. It was an absolute honour and pleasure to work with an ecology legend Mr Jim Shields on the Koala detection dog program. I truly value the experience and the incredible knowledge that Jim has in flora and fauna. Oscar’s legacy will be many more environmental dogs to follow in his foot steps, Jim and myself will continue working on these important programs.

If you wish to assist in donations for future environmental dogs contact Dr Jim Shields on 0417 732 071 or jim.shields@bigpond.com or for training environmental detection dogs for pests or endangered species contact Gary Jackson on 0419 773 022 or gary@mnk9.com.




Sept. 25, 2013, 9:11 a.m.

OSCAR, a koala detection dog on duty in Port Macquarie from his South Coast base, has been tragically killed.

Black Labrador Oscar and his handler and best mate Jim Shields, of Tura Beach, were in Port Macquarie tracking down koalas when he was hit by a car.

Oscar could smell a koala at 200 metres and when he did he let his owner, Jim, know without attacking or chasing either the koala or any other wildlife.

As far as Jim knows, Oscar was the only dog trained to find koalas and as people become more concerned about the plight of koalas, Oscar had more and more work from Rural Fire Service groups, prior to a burn, developers, prior to building and councils wanting to expand housing areas.

It was in this latter capacity that Oscar had been employed at Port Macquarie.

Jim said: “We were working in Port Macquarie, finding koalas or “Katies” in front of the excavators and harvesting machines making a new housing development. This was one of the conditions of approval from council – actually, they only required an ecologist to stand by for a run to the Port Macquarie Koala hospital – I was determined we would find them all before the machines did.”

It was while Oscar and Jim were attempting to remove a koala caught in a road way near their accommodation at the Hastings River that tragedy struck. The koala was blinded by the headlights of oncoming cars.

Jim said: “When Oscar picked up the scent of the koala, he ran onto the road way and barked once. The koala ran back to the roadway and escaped up a tree. He probably couldn’t see it in the glare because he put his nose down and did a perfect bend toward the koala. He raced straight forward much faster than I ever could have. He barked once as he hit the road way and the koala ran back to the road’s edge.

“The approaching car hit Oscar – the driver truly didn’t have time to react. The following car stopped and I ran out to Oscar. He was still alive and tried to get up when he saw me. I stroked him and held his head; he barked twice more and died.”

Jim started training Oscar when he was eight weeks old.

“We started with detection. All his toys had koala scent on them, thanks to help from Potoroo Palace so the smell was associated as a good smell every time we played with Oscar.”

The training took over three years and included help from Gary Jackson, the Brisbane dog trainer who became world famous when he discovered a dog could detect cancer at an early stage.

Jim said: “He was more than just a dog, to me and everybody he met. I try to model my human relations and work ethic on Oscar – he was always glad to see you, and he was always ready to go to work.

“I could go on and on about the marvellous things he did and the fine dog he was. Oscar imprinted on me, wanted nothing more than to hang out with me, and was my constant companion.”

Oscar was buried privately under an old growth tallow wood tree, a primary feed tree of the koala, Jim said.

Source: http://www.portnews.com.au/story/1800187/oscar-the-koala-detection-dog-killed-in-port-macquarie/ via MERIMBULA NEWS

#community #conservation #development #news

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