By Andrea Romano
December 31, 2019
Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to our friends in the animal kingdom.

CNN reported that cyclist Anna Heusler encountered a thirsty koala sitting in the middle of the road while taking a bike ride near Adelaide, South Australia. The koala was most likely affected by the extreme heat and wildfires that have been happening in the area and was in desperate need of help.

Heusler wrote about her experience on Instagram across four posts. In the first post, Heusler explained that her group saw the animal in the middle of the road and stopped to help guide it to a safer spot. She wrote, “This koala walked right up to me as I was descending and climbed up onto my bike while I gave him water.”

Normally, koalas are not particularly social creatures, especially around humans, but this little koala didn’t seem too scared of Heusler and the other cyclists she was with. “BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO ME ON A RIDE EVER,” Heusler wrote.

According to CNN, koalas are a fairly common sight on the roads near Adelaide, but it’s extremely rare for one of these animals to approach humans.

Heusler also posted a video on Instagram of the thirsty creature guzzling as much water as it needed. “There were about a dozen cyclists around me watching this (all men) and several commented that it was genuinely the best thing they’ve witnessed,” Heusler wrote.

In her final post, a close-up of the koala’s face, Heusler explained that the heat in Australia was about 40 degrees Celsius (about 104 Fahrenheit) and that there are “out of control bushfires” in the area. Naturally, this has had not only a significant impact on people and their homes, but also on the local wildlife.

According to CNN, up to 30 percent of koalas may have already been killed in the South Australia bushfires, which will have a significant impact on the species and the environment.

“Up to 30 percent of the koalas in the region may have been killed because up to 30 percent of their habitat has been destroyed... We'll know more when the fires are calmed down and a proper assessment can be made,” Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

As of Dec. 21, nine people had died, with one missing, and 800 homes had been destroyed by the fires as well, CNN reported.

While Heusler’s photos and video are certainly adorable and inspiring, Heusler hopes they will also serve a greater cause.

“There's nothing but tragedy in Australia. It's burning out of control,” Heusler told CNN. “I hope this episode helps spread awareness. The firefighters are the real heroes, not me.”

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