They even went to the extent of making her put on safety goggles and protective gear before handling the supposedly fearsome animal.
Dealing with animals need not be everyone's cup of tea. Even if it is relatively calm animals that do not pose any danger to humans, some people can get understandably afraid. An ITV News correspondent had a hilarious interaction with a koala after she was led to believe that the animal was in fact, a deadly "drop bear." According to the Australian Museum, the existence of drop bears is based on urban legends that describe them to be large, arboreal, predatory marsupial creatures that are closely related to Koalas.
Their name comes from their supposed hunting tactic of dropping from trees to attack their victims. Debi Edward arrived at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park to do a story on koalas being injured after major bushfires across the country. During filming, she was told that she was about to handle an extremely dangerous drop bear. The staff at the park even went to the extent of making her put on safety goggles and protective gear to ensure the prank had more of an impact.
At the time, Edward did not have any idea that there was no such thing as a drop bear. We get to see her very nervously holding the cute animal, saying, "We've been told that this is quite a dangerous bear. It's been known to attack people." She mentions how it gets its name from the way it attacks its prey. Edward tells her viewers about how she had to put on a lot of protective gear because of "what it might do" to her.
She continues to nervously glance at the animal in her arms, who does not seem to show any sign of wanting to attack her. The reporter gets nervous as the koala looks around. Army reservist vet Garnett Hall was also around when the video was being shot. He can be heard warning Edward about the animal's poisonous fangs. The whole prank reaches a saturation point for her and she asks someone to take the "drop bear" away from her.
She only realizes the prank when Hall casually grabs the animal from her without having any safety gear. The video went viral and was later shared on Reddit, where it has amassed over 15.8k upvotes. Individuals on the site loved the hilarious video and shared their thoughts in the comments section. u/elspotto commented, "The koala looking around like 'We really doing this bit again?'"
Another Reddit user, u/Santos_L_Halper_II, said, "Unfortunately, she was bitten by seven different types of venomous snakes while filming this." u/Literally_-_Hitler watched the more comprehensive YouTube video and said, "LOL, I died at the longer version. Right after she figures it out, they pan out and you can see there is a toddler right off-screen. So she put on all this armor and never once questioned why nobody is really even protecting the toddler."
According to the Australian Koala Foundation, Koalas should not be confused with bears. They are also not to be considered placental or "eutherian" mammals. Koalas are considered marsupials as they give birth to their young before they are fully developed within the safety of their pouch. Currently, the greatest threat to the existence of koalas is the loss of their habitat.