Debi Edward, ITV’s Asia correspondent, was fitted with an armour suit, protective goggles and heavy-duty boots and gloves as she nervously prepared herself to hold the animal. The British journalist was the latest foreign visitor to fall victim to the Australian hoax which has convinced countless tourists about the “potentially deadly” consequences of the make-believe animals. During a visit to Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park to report on the island’s estimated 60,000 koalas who have died in the bushfires, Debi was convinced by Australian video journalist Sean Mulcahy to hold a drop bear.
He warned the “close cousin of the koala” is “really vicious” and spews out venom from its fangs.
When the cameraman asks her how she is feeling, Debi says: “At the moment, okay, because there’s nothing near me but it is a bit like a Batman suit so I’m a bit worried about why I need this level of protection.”
After being handed the animal, she tells the camera: “Everybody looks very, very worried about this.
“I’m trying not to be worried because I’m being told that he can sense if I’m worried.”
ITV's Debi Edward nervously holds a 'drop bear' which was in fact a koala (Image: ITV)
Australian video journalist Sean Mulcahy takes the 'drop bear' from Debi Edward (Image: ITV)
Gesturing to the fluffy koala in her arms while convinced it is a predator, she continues: “We’ve been told that this is quite a dangerous bear that’s been known to attack people.
“It’s called a drop bear because they drop out of the tree to attack people.
“I’ve just been handed it and had to put on all of this protection gear because of what it might do to me.”
She then starts giving the koala the side-eye as she appears to become nervous over it pointing its face upwards.
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A little koala who was injured in a bushfire is