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US News Journalist falls for Australian drop bear prank while covering Kangaroo Island bushfires

10:05  13 january  2020
10:05  13 january  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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As devastating bushfires rage on in Australia , covering an area twice the size of Wales and incinerating some 500 million animals, forecasters The blaze is expected to consume the entirety of a national park in that province's Kangaroo Island , and an evacuation order has been issued for over

'They drop out of the trees to attack people,' Debi said as she fell for the prank . Australian camera crew while filming on Kangaroo Island , off the coast of South Australia , on I have had the pleasure of working with her now on a number of occasions and she is an exceptional journalist and a lovely

ITV News Asia correspondent Debi Edward with a © ABC News ITV News Asia correspondent Debi Edward with a "drop bear" on Kangaroo Island.

A special message from MSN:

We’re committed to help support relief efforts after the devastating Australian bushfires. You can donate directly here, and read more here.

When a Scottish journalist was asked if she wanted to hold an elusive Australian "drop bear" during the Kangaroo Island bushfire crisis, she jumped at the chance — falling for the prank "hook, line and sinker".

ITV News Asia correspondent Debi Edward, was covering the ongoing bushfire situation on the island, when her freelance camera operator decided to add a little light humour amid the confronting news.

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The 2007 Kangaroo Island bushfires were a series of bushfires caused by lightning strikes on 6 December 2007 on Kangaroo Island , South Australia , resulting in 95,000 ha of land being destroyed.

Chinook Army helicopters capable of carrying huge loads are sent to fire-ravaged Kangaroo Island Two army helicopters will arrive on South Australia 's Kangaroo Island on Monday They will deliver vital supplies to remote parts of the fire-ravaged island

Freelance video producer Sean Mulcahy, Army reservist veterinarian Garnett Hall and Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park owner Sam Mitchell pulled off the prank, which has gone viral on social media.

She even donned the "protective drop bear clothing" — which was a motocross outfit worn backwards, along with welding gloves, boots and goggles.

"She looked like a Ninja Turtle," Mr Mulcahy told ABC News.

"At one point, we were going to tell her that you can stop them going for the neck if you put some Vegemite behind your ears.

A koala in a scorched tree on Kangaroo Island following the bushfires. © ABC News A koala in a scorched tree on Kangaroo Island following the bushfires.

"She would have gone with that as well, but I couldn't do it in good conscience."

He said Ms Edwards was "mortified" when he told her he had posted the video to social media, but she "copped it on the chin for the team" to help the fundraising effort after seeing the devastation the fire had caused to the island.

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Two Australian states are bracing for a day of "catastrophic" risk as firefighters battle over 100 deadly active bushfires that have produced clouds of smoke seen as far away as New Zealand.

More On: Australia bushfires . US firefighters cheered as they arrive to fight Australian wildfires. Military vehicles have also been dispatched by the South Australian government to help the wildlife, with 100 army reservists equipped with supplies working on Kangaroo Island to save the animals.

In his post he said, "In times of tragedy and incessant misery, sometimes humour is the best medicine".

"We were told there was a population of 60,000 koalas on the island and they feared they had lost 30-40,000 of them, which has now turned out to be the best part of 80 per cent of them," he said.

"In the process of looking at the koalas, I said to the vet, 'is that a drop bear?'

"It all unfolded very quickly.

"As soon as they said to her, 'do you want to hold one?' she said, 'is it safe?'

"And it was just on for young and old from there."

The prank was pulled off with 'such conviction'

"The Army vet, Garnett, he just grabbed the ball and ran with it — I don't think I've ever seen someone pull it off with such conviction. She was hook, line and sinker," Mr Mulcahy said.

Gallery: Australia's bushfire catastrophe in pictures (Atalntic)

a man standing in front of a sunset: Nancy Allen and Brian Allen stand outside as high winds push smoke and ash from the Currowan Fire towards Nowra, New South Wales, Australia, on January 4, 2020.

"I knew once she got all the way through that, I knew there weren't too many people who have fallen for that one, especially at a level of her intelligence and international status.

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Seeing the heartbreaking photos and stories about the Australian bushfires can make you feel helpless, but there is something you can do. Explore this Article Supporting Firefighters, Wildlife, and Displaced Families Taking Action to Help Australia Helping While in Australia Ask a Question

Bushfires have swept large parts of Australia since October, leaving more than 23 people dead, destroying thousands of homes and devastating wildlife – 1 billion animals have been killed. Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor describes reporting on the crisis.

"I thought she would wake up to it, but then when she went all the way, I knew it was going to go wild [on social media].

"It was comedy gold."

ADF personnel feed koalas injured in the Kangaroo Island bushfires. © ABC News ADF personnel feed koalas injured in the Kangaroo Island bushfires.

Mr Mulcahy said he posted the video to social media in a bid to raise money for the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, which has been nursing injured koalas after bushfires wiped out most of Flinders Chase National Park.

"I still can't get my head around that 40,000 of them have died, I've been driving around and I've seen 10 dead koalas today, they're just dead at the bottom of trees," he said.

"It's horrific.

"If you see one in the wild in New South Wales, you're delighted. I don't think I've ever seen one in the wild to be honest, so to see so many dead is awful."

He said amid the devastation, it was important to take a break from the heartache.

Gallery: Animals take shelter from Australia's blistering bushfires (Reuters)

A weary kangaroo shelters on a patch of green grass surrounded by burnt bushland along the Princes Highway near in Milton, Australia. REUTERS/Tracey Nearmy

"For us, it was a case of, it's just been a miserable couple of weeks, and then we got this laugh — I'm glad I shared it because so many people have got joy out of it," he said.

"I've just been with a family who lost their home on Kangaroo Island, I sat down with them and they all watched the video and were just crying with laughter.

"These are people who lost their home four days ago, lost everything they've got.

"They cried out of sadness during the interview, but for that brief period, it was happiness for them."

MSN UK is committed to Empowering the Planet and taking urgent action to protect our environment against the climate crisis. We’re supporting those on the front line tackling the Australian bushfire crisis. Find out more about our campaign here.

Artist draws incredible koala mural into the sand in honour of the millions of animals who perished in the bushfires .
A beautiful sand mural of a koala hugging a burning tree has popped up in Geelong, Victoria, dedicated to the millions of animals who have died in the bushfires.A special message from MSN: We’re committed to help support relief efforts after the devastating Australian bushfires. You can donate directly here, and read more here.

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