OSCAR is the world's first koala sniffer dog.

medium_Koala Sniffing Dog 1 Septemeber, 2013.jpgStory and image courtesy of the Northern Star

That's what NSW Forestry Corporation is calling Oscar, a Labrador who has been specifically trained to go into native forests and find live koalas.

In late July Oscar was brought to Royal Camp harvesting site to complement the surveys undertaken by Forestry Corporation ecologists.

Over four days he was walked around an area of 100ha.

"When Oscar came across a live koala he alerted us by standing on his hind legs with his front legs on the tree," said Forestry Corporation's regional ecologist John Willoughby.

"He is also adept at identifying signs of koalas by finding fresh fecal pellets at the base of trees.

"We've now mapped all the trees Oscar identified and will combine this information with the rest of our survey data so we can develop accurate operational plans that exclude koala high-use areas from harvesting."

Forestry Corporation's regional manager Craig Busby said Oscar has a GPS device attached to his collar and when he gets the scent of a koala, he follows it and then waits at the base of the tree for his trainer, Jim Shields.

Oscar is six years old and Jim has been training him for four years. Royal Camp was only his second job.

"Oscar was brought in to go over harvested areas.

"Royal Camp has been actively harvested for 100 years and we'd argue that the koala populations are so healthy because of the harvesting.

"Koalas like fresh re-growth areas and Oscar actually found fresh records (of koalas) in areas that have been harvested in the past 12 months."