Heartbreaking footage of koala begging cyclists for water in Australian heat

This desperate koala can be seen hastily drinking water in a bid to cool down amid the soaring heat in Australia.

The marsupial approached a group of cyclists who were riding towards Adelaide, where temperatures are nearing 40C.

Anna Heusler said the group saw the stricken animal in the middle of the road when they went round a bend in the state of South Australia.

She told 7 News: ‘Naturally we stopped because we were going to help relocate him off the road.

‘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.

‘None of us have ever seen anything like it.’

Australia is currently experiencing a record-breaking heatwave, with average daily temperatures pushing into the high 40s.

The heat has exacerbated the bushfires and more than four million hectares have already been burnt – an area roughly one-third of the size of England.

Nearly 1,000 homes have been destroyed and nine people have been killed.

The plight of the koala has come into particular focus as around 30% of their habitat has been destroyed.

Thousands of the iconic marsupials are feared to have died in the fires, particularly in the hardest hit state of New South Wales.

The state was home to around 28,000 koalas but their numbers are known to have been depleted since the crisis broke out around two months ago.

They have perished either in the bushfires or from starvation and dehydration afterwards.

Campaign group the Total Environment Centre said the government was not doing enough to help the animals and said management plans needed to be put in place.

Director Jeff Angel added: ‘Survival of koalas is at emergency level with the decline of populations, loss of habitat and the bushfires.

‘We urge the government to do more, and quickly.’

The government has said they will know more about the situation once the fires are out.

Local residents have been rescuing the marsupials or taking them to specialist centres, where they have been treated for burns.

Today, fire danger around Sydney and the capital Canberra was upgraded to ‘severe’ as firefighters brace themselves for another heatwave.

Temperatures peaked today at 38C and they are set to rise over the next seven days.

Meanwhile, New South Wales Emergency Services Minister David Elliott has gone on an overseas family vacation in the wake of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s much-criticised family trip to Hawaii.

Morrison, who apologized for going away, eventually cut short his vacation and returned to Sydney last weekend.

Elliott said he will be briefed daily while overseas, adding: ‘If the bushfire situation should demand it, I will return home without hesitation.’

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