WILDLIFE officers have come to the rescue of an abandoned baby koala who found internet stardom by being the baby in a bucket.
The baby was found shaking underneath a verandah and “looking very sick” after its mother was apparently overcome by the ferocious heatwave that
struck Victoria last week.
Click here to see pictures of the baby koala
Click for photos of koalas desperate for a drink in South Australia
"The mum had become distressed and disorientated by the heat so she left the baby on its own without realising," Tracey Young told Ninemsn.
"They’re normally up in the tree together, in a pair, and we see them all the time."
Ms Young’s nephew first spotted the distressed animal on the family property in Maude, between Melbourne and Geelong. Keep track of the impact of the
heatwave on the area in the Geelong Advertiser.
"I had to scoop water up in my hand to get it to drink and at first it wasn’t very unresponsive," Mrs Young told ninemsn.
"Eventually it realised the water was in the bowl and it just climbed in itself."
A viral email showing the koala taking its refreshing dip generated media interest in the marsupial.
Though the mother koala has returned to the tree the baby is now in the care of wildlife officers.
"The kids, being very protective, circled the koala until the wildlife lady came and took it," Ms Young said.
Mrs Young's sister Rebecca, who lives next door, also found she had a furry refugee from the heat when an older koala trespassed onto her place.
"It was hiding underneath the decking in the shade," Rebecca Durran said.
"We thought the one we got was young but it was an older female that was just very thin.
"We just gave her a shallow dish of water and she just drank constantly."
That koala is now also in the care of wildlife officers, who say they will release both animals back into the wild.