Australia`s wild animals are currently suffering from extreme weather conditions, with more than 2000 dying from dehydration or heat. One koala found a way to take a drink amid the sweltering heatwave.
Anna Heusler, a cyclist from Adelaide, South Australia, takes up cycling in the countryside on a regular basis.
In December 2019, Anna had an unusual encounter. Namely, a small thirsty koala run out onto the road and begged her for a drink of water. It was not the first time that Anna had seen a koala sitting in the middle of the road, but the reaction of this koala surprised her. The video, which showed the koala drinking all the water from her bottle, was posted on Anna`s Instagram and it immediately went viral worldwide with millions of views.
The weather was hot with soaring temperatures of about 42° C when Anna and dozen other cyclists, who were riding from the hills towards Adelaide, noticed the koala. As soon as they noticed it, they stopped and tried to get him off the road and return him to the forest. Unlike other koalas that keep their distance, this one approached them quickly because he was very thirsty.
While Anna was giving him a drink of water, the koala quickly climbed up onto the frame of her bike. Andrew, Anna`s partner, recorded the touching moment when the koala raced towards the bike and started taking big gulps of water. She said that none of them have ever seen anything like that.
Kangaroos and Koalas Suffering in Australia`s Heatwave
The fires that have recently destroyed the southern states of Australia, particularly New South Wales and Victoria, have affected nearly 500.000 wild animals, including kangaroos and koalas. In addition, the fires also affected Kangaroo Island, a place which was considered to be a safe haven for kangaroos and koalas.
With the original video that Anna shared on her Instagram profile, she tried to raise awareness to the difficult situation in which the koalas, the firefighters and the other rescuers were. She wanted to emphasize the danger posed to the existence of the wild animals by the current situation in the country. Over 2000 koalas died in the devastating bushfires in South Australia and in the East coast of the continent. The animals died mainly from dehydration or starvation. A tragedy is taking place in Australia. The fires are getting out of control. She said that the people fighting the fires are the real heroes, not her.
Anna`s GoFundMe Page has managed to raise more than $13.000 for the Adelaide Koala Rescue teams, which are rescuing and taking care of more than 110 injured and dehydrated koalas.
John Woinarski, a researcher of threatened species and a well-known professor at the Charles Darwin University, says that the extinction risk for wild animals is currently off the charts. Until now, nearly 30% of the population of koalas have been killed in what could be the deadliest heatwave for the Australian wildlife in recent memory.