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A British news reporter fell victim to a prank which saw her don protective body armour to hold a koala bear.
Debi Edwards, Asia Correspondent for ITV News, was the subject of a hoax by Australian TV producer Sean Mulcahy while filming a report about the koalas being rescued from Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park amid the bushfires in South Australia.
Edwards, 40, was told she would be holing a “drop bear” a dangerous cousin of the koala which drops out of trees and attacks tourists with its claws and venomous fangs.
Putting on the suit the reporter from Aberdeen said: “It is a bit like a Batman suit so I’m a bit worried by why I need this level of protection.”
Vet Dr Garnett Hall told her: “Drop bears are a close cousin of the koala, but they’re actually really vicious. They’re bigger, they’ve got longer claws - they’ve actually got really small fangs, and the interesting thing about the fangs is they have a really mild venom. It’s not like a snake venom that can make you really sick, it just causes a lot of really local irritation.”
He added: “The third most common injury that we see in tourists in Australia is actually from drop bear attack.”
Edwards look increasingly nervous as she held the bear - which was passed to her by a man wearing no protective gear at all.
This was one of 40 Koalas rescued and brought to the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park today. Unfortunately many of them did not survive. A heartbreaking time for everyone there 😢 Pic courtesy of @ANPTV https://t.co/bMzRFNsgV2 pic.twitter.com/0K2vL2q1dC
— Debi Edward (@debiedwarditv) January 11, 2020
She told the camera: “I’ve been told that this is quite a dangerous bear, it’s been known to attack people. ‘It’s called a drop bear because they drop out of the trees to attack people. I’m trying not to be worried because I’ve been told that he can sense if I’m worried.”
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After being warned the bear looked poised to attack Edwards said: “S**t, s**t, I’m really not okay. Please take it off me.”
After passing the bear back she suddenly realised it had all been a joke and began laughing, before muttering: “F***ing Aussies!”
Mulcahy shared the video online writing: “I have had the pleasure of working with her now on a number of occasions and she is an exceptional journalist and a lovely lady. However, I am Australian and by proclamation a dirty rotten scoundrel.
“If you enjoyed this video, please don’t let Debi’s humiliation be in vain. Please donate directly to help the park who are treating these koalas.”