A selfless teenage girl has stopped to help a dehydrated koala during the weekend’s heatwave by letting him drink from her water bottle.
Aspiring zookeeper Tahlia Cooper, 17, was worried that the koala would be thirsty as the small Victorian town sweats through an intense three-day heatwave with temperatures topping 40 degrees.
‘We saw it come down the tree,’ she told Shepparton News. ‘He ended up drinking three bottles of water.’
The adorable encounter was also caught on video and uploaded to Facebook, prompting several people to thank her for her kind actions.
Usually, koalas don’t need to drink additional water because they get all the moisture they need by eating leaves.
But in heatwave conditions, leave tend to dry out and it’s not uncommon for koalas to come down from the treetops in search of an extra source of hydration.
Increasingly warm temperatures and frequent heatwaves have pushed the koala conservation status to ‘vulnerable’, with climate change, habitat loss and disease wiping out the famous native marsupial.
Koalas are currently in serious decline suffering from the effects of domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents as well as climate change.
The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are less than 100,000 left in the wild – and possibly as few as 43,000.