Instagram | @bikebug2019

Dehydrated Koala Desperately Approaches Cyclist And Sips From Water Bottle

Rising temperatures in Australia and the enduring wildfires have posed serious challenges for local wildlife, who often have no other choice but to endure the unbearable heat. However, one little koala in need of a good drink thankfully got some help from a particularly kindhearted cyclist.

According to the Independent, Aussie cycling enthusiast Anna Heuseler went viral this month after lending her water bottle to a desperately dehydrated koala who sought out her help during a recent ride.

Heuseler posted photos of the incredibly touching encounter on Instagram where she also explained the situation.

In her first post, which shows the koala clinging to her bicycle spokes as it gulps from her water bottle, Heuseler wrote,

"This koala walked right up to me as I was descending and climbed up onto my bike while I gave him water. BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO BE ON A RIDE EVER."

Clearly, the dehydrated koala knew it was in the company of good people when it first approached Heuseler's bike.

In another post, she explained that she and a group of other cyclists were heading towards Adelaide, South Australia, on December 20 when they spotted the koala sitting in the middle of the road.

Temperatures that day had reached a sweltering 40C, but the clearly suffering animal appeared to trust its new company enough to scurry over to Heuseler's bike in need of a drink.

She even posted a video of the amazing encounter, showing the koala quite literally clinging to her as it quenches its thirst.

In the video, the koala stands on Heuseler's bicycle spokes as it keeps one paw held tight to her hand, keeping the bottle in place as it drinks.

It soon lapped up all the water in the bottle, prompting Hueseler to ask her company for another one to keep helping the poor animal.

Heuseler later remarked that while she's seen hundreds of koalas on her frequent bike rides, this is the first time one has ever come up to her.

"I stopped on my bike and he walked right up to me, quite quickly for a koala, and as I was giving him a drink from all our water bottles, he actually climbed up onto my bike," she told 7News. "None of us have ever seen anything like it."

After helping the koala, Heuseler said they carefully escorted the animal safely back to the shelter of the trees and off the road.

Fortunately, this particular koala was unharmed by the bushfires that have been raging through the area for months now.

On the same day that Heuseler encountered the sweet animal, a statewide code red was declared in South Australia, particularly to provide extra help for the homeless population as temperatures soared to 40C.

Prior to those bushfires, the mid-north coast of New South Wales, Australia, was estimated to have a population of around 15,000-28,000 koalas.

Unsplash | Annika

However, those numbers have since drastically decreased, with some ecologists fearing as many as 9,000 have perished in the devastating destruction.

Those koalas who have survived, like Heuseler's little friend here, have been left with severely limited resources.

Unsplash | Wim Bollen

The fires have wiped out 5 million hectares (12 million acres) of land, making it extremely difficult for wildlife to find food and water, as well as eliminating their habitats.

Experts estimate as many as 480 million animals in total have been killed since the wildfires began in September.

h/t: Independent, 7News