La Trobe University students on an excursion have rescued a stranded koala by pushing an empty canoe for it to climb into near Ulupna Island, about 60km west of Yarrawonga, the Herald Sun reported yesterday.
The koala was hanging on a bare tree in the Murray River before the students realised the koala was staring at them and thus, prompted them to offer a canoe for the marsupial to jump into on Sunday.
Kirra Coventry, the student who filmed the rescue, said the koala didn’t appear distressed but had “gratefully” accepted a ride back to dry land.
“We edged the boat up towards the tree to see if he was interested and that’s when he jumped in and was straight on-board,” Coventry said.
Coventry and her colleagues were on an outdoor and environmental assignment. The student believed that the lost koala had been hanging on the tree for a few days and had even tested the waters given that the koala’s “bum and legs” were a little wet.
But as the currents move quite quickly near the part of the river where it was stranded, they think the koala had decided against it.
According to Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, although koalas can swim, they will eventually drown if there are no “assisted ways” for them to climb out. They are also said to drown in swimming pools, where they go to looking for water to drink.