14 January 2020 00:32

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Scots reporter tricked into holding dangerous ‘drop bear’ at Aussie wildlife park

AS parts of Australia face devastation from the weeks of bushfires sweeping the country, one team of rescuers managed to bring smiles to residents' faces. A team at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Rescue Park had ITV journalist Debi Edward, originally from Aberdeen, hold on to a dangerous "drop bear". In a clip posted by 7NEWS Australia, rescuer Sean Mulcahy tells the TV reporter the creature is a close relative of the koala but larger, with longer claws and fangs which inject venom. He informs her that drop bear attacks are the "most common" injury reported by tourists in the area. "F*****' Aussies!": Amid the bushfire devastation on Kangaroo Island, one team of rescuers has brought some light-hearted relief with prank on a Scottish TV reporter.

#7NEWS pic.twitter.com/50U3Ls53eD — 7NEWS Australia (@7NewsAustralia) January 13, 2020 Edward was dressed in a special protective suit to prevent the animal from attacking her. However, unbeknown to the journalist, the vicious animal was really a cuddly koala. As Edward held the marsupial, the rescue team around her acted as if she was at risk. "I'm trying not to be worried because I'm told he can sense if I'm worried," she says while looking concerned. Eventually, after pretending the "drop bear" was about to strike any second, Mulcahy took the koala back from the reporter.

The penny dropped for Edward as she noticed the rescuer did not require any protective clothing to hold the "dangerous" creature. READ MORE: Mike Small: Climate change, coal, colonialism... and koalas She took the prank with good humour, laughing heartily and announcing "f*****' Aussies!" Rescuer Mulcahy said the team carried out the prank to help raise awareness of the high number of koalas which have been killed in the recent fires. An estimated 40,000 are thought to have perished in fires on Kangaroo Island alone. "In times of tragedy and incessant misery, sometimes humour is the best medicine," Mulcahy told 7News Australia.

The team has urged anyone entertained by the clip to donate to the park, which is treating animals hurt in the fires. Donations can be made here. Scottish TV reporter Debi Edward was duped into thinking she was holding a lethal bear which was actually a koala in a prank by workers at an Australian animal reserve. The ITV News Asia correspondent got dressed up in full-body armour, protective boots and safety goggles after being told she would be handling a 'drop bear' that has venomous fangs and attacks humans. The 40-year-old, from Aberdeen, panicked as she took hold of the bear and was told by carers that they may have to subdue it with a dart gun as it was preparing to attack her.

Miss Edward was covering the devastation caused by bushfires on Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, on Saturday. She agreed to hold the 'drop bear' while visiting Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, where koalas rescued in the fires are being treated. When told the bear was actually a harmless koala Miss Edward laughed and said "F***ing Aussies". An ITV News Correspondent is the talk of the town - or island - in Australia after she was pranked by her camera operator and workers at a wildlife park. Debi Edward was reporting from Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park which had said it was becoming "overwhelmed" by injured koalas following the devastating bushfires which have burnt huge swathes of Australia.

Experts say at least half of the 60,000 koalas on the island have been killed. Across Australia at least 27 people have been died and thousands of homes destroyed by the fires. Whilst filming at the park, Edward was told she was about to hold an extremely dangerous drop bear, a lethal cousin of koalas. She was made to put on protective clothing and goggles to hold what was actually a koala. No one else was wearing protective clothing. Credit: Facebook/Sean Mulcahy Unbeknown to Edward, there is no such thing as a drop bear, it's a well-known hoax about a predatory, carnivorous version of docile koalas which lurk in trees and then drop on the heads of their prey from above. Nervously holding the koala, Edward tells the camera: "I've been told 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." Army reservist vet Garnett Hall also warns Edward about the drop bear's poisonous fangs. When the koala begins looking around, Edward becomes visibly worried asking if someone can take the "drop bear" from her as Hall tells her not to move "I'm going to get the dart gun". It was only when Hall and park owner Garnett Mitchell nonchalantly take the koala from her, that the penny drops for Edward and she realises she has been tricked. Sorry, this content isn't available on your device. Raging wildfires haven't doused the Aussies' sense of humor. A Scottish TV reporter was duped into donning full body armor over the weekend so she could safely hold what locals told her is one of Australia's deadliest creatures — a dangerous cousin of the koala known as the "drop bear." ITV News Asia correspondent Debi Edward is seen on footage posted on Facebook prepping for the encounter at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park by donning protective gear. "I'm a bit worried why I need this level of protection," Edward said in the video. A worker at the wildlife center then explains the dangers of the species to the camera as Edward looks on, visibly nervous. "Drop bears are a close cousin of the koala, but they're actually really vicious," the worker said. "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." He adds that drop bear attacks are the third leading cause of death for tourists visiting the Land Down Under. "Visually it looks very like a koala," Edward volunteers. The thing is, the "drop bear" is just a cuddly koala — a long-running hoax on the continent played on unsuspecting outsiders. Pranksters peddle the koala as a dangerous subspecies to terrify the target of the joke. Edward was just the latest victim. "Okay, okay. Nice and steady with the bear," Edward says as she holds the animal. "Keep him calm. Everybody looks very worried about this. I'm trying not to be worried because I've been told he can sense if I'm worried." She finally panics, pleading with the wildlife workers "take it off me!" As the fuzzy koala is handed off to grinning workers, Edward realizes she's been had. "You were kidding me," she says laughing. "You were kidding me." "F–king Aussies!" The video will start in 8 Cancel Sign up to FREE daily email alerts from Daily Record - daily Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Invalid Email A Scottish journalist was tricked into holding a dangerous 'drop bear' by cheeky animal rescuers at an Australian wildlife park. Reporter Debi Edward, from Aberdeen, was visiting the team at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park amid the devastating bushfires. In a clip shared by 7NEWS Australia, rescuer Sean Mulcahy tells Edward the creature is a close relative of the koala but larger with longer claws and fangs with a mild venom. He also claims attacks by the animal are the "most common injury" reported by tourists. He dresses ITV reporter Edward in a 'drop bear suit' and goggles to protect her from the vicious creature. She can be heard telling the camera: "I'm a bit worried about why I need this level of protection." Rescuers bring the 'drop bear' out, which is actually a cuddly koala, and allows a terrified Edward to hold it. She says: "Everybody looks very, very worried about this." "I'm trying not to be worried because I'm told he can sense if I'm worried." Rescuer Sean Mulcahy pretends the "drop bear" is about to strike the reporter and announces he is going to retrieve a dart gun. A visibly panicked Edward demands the animal is taken off her. Sean comes in to take the animal away, cuddling it and laughing as he reveals the prank. Stunned Debi doubles over in laughter and says: "f*****' Aussies!" Mulcahy says the joke aims to raise awareness for the estimated 40,000 koalas killed in the bush fires. A post with the video says: "In times of tragedy and incessant misery, sometimes humour is the best medicine. "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." To donate visit here.