Cyclists in southern Australia got a surprise last week when they were finishing up a ride on Norton Summit Road near the city of Adelaide.
As they were cruising along their route, they noticed a koala sitting in the middle of the road. When the cyclists slowed to see if the animal was ok, it quickly approached them. When one of the riders, Anna Heuseler, gave the animal a drink, it climbed on to her bike to get as much water as it could from her bottle.
One of the cyclists captured the heartwrenching moment on his phone and Heuseler later posted it to social media.
Hueseler told 7news.com.au that while it wasn�t unusual to see koalas throughout the bushland, its reaction caught her by surprise.
“We�ve seen literally hundreds of koalas over the years, we have never seen a koala do this.”
Sadly, the species is on the decline since massive wildfires have spread around the country and have burned some parts of the Australian bush to the ground. Thousands of koalas are estimated to have died in the fires with experts fearing that about half a billion animals have been killed in total.
Related Story: Heroes Save Koalas From Australia�s Wildfires
While this animal was one of the lucky ones that avoided being burned, it was obvious that it was severely dehydrated � no doubt a result of the record high temperatures the country has been experiencing for several months now. In fact, a �code red� was issued in South Australia earlier the same day, which is an extreme heat warning meant to reduce harmful effects on the area�s homeless population.
Hueseler gave the koala a drink from all of the riders� bottles, and when they were done they escorted the animal back to the shelter of the trees.
�This Koala walked right up to me as I was descending and climbed up onto my bike while I gave him water,� Hueseler wrote in an Instagram post. �BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO ME ON A RIDE EVER.�
While people all over the world praised Hueseler and the other bikers for their kindness, some also expressed their sadness and angst about the decline of the species due to rising temperatures and the ongoing bushfires.
How lucky that this amazing creature found help with you. I hope your heat and drought ends soon. We suffered similar circumstances with severe heat and fires here in California, one person commented.
Bravo for that. These animals are also our future. It’s time for humans to understand and act quickly, another person wrote.
If you would like to help the wildlife that has been devastated by the Australian bushfires you can donate to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, which has raised over 2 million dollars to install automatic drinking stations to areas affected by the fires. The hospital is also actively working to establish breeding areas to help replenish the koala population.
You can also �Adopt a Koala� by making a monthly donation to the World Wildlife Federation.
Let�s #StartSomethingGood together.
(Source: images & video @bikebug2019)